Are You Happy?

There are so many ways to answer that question

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a little over 2 years. When she pulled up to the parking lot of my work, I almost (but not quite) dropped everything I was doing just so that I could go out to her and hug her. She had been doing a favor for her niece by bringing her dog to us that had eaten something that made her have an upset stomach. I ran out there like a momma who hadn’t seen her child in years. I think I hesitated only slightly when I got to my friend because I wasn’t sure if it was safe for me to hug her (her husband had cancer), but she gave me the open arms and I flew into them. My friend is the kind of person who is there for you. She was one of the first friends I had that helped when I needed someone to watch my baby when I had to go back to work. She let me sit on her couch and we would just talk. Even in the parking lot that familiar feeling overcame me that with this friend I could confide everything to her and she would still love me. So we talked about her grandkids, we talked about my kids and how much they have grown. We talked about her and her husband planning to travel again. We just talked. When her niece showed up to pick up her dog, I was in such a state of happiness that when her niece mentioned something about how she had not even gotten a hug, I immediately hugged her and then realized she was talking to her aunt. Seeing my friend was what I needed.

I am blessed to work with people that I get to call friends. Over the years I have found (at other jobs) that it’s hard to be friends with your boss, I mean they have to put their foot down at times and it’s not pretty. My boss now though really is a friend. You could say we grew up together (in our careers) and our families have grown up together as well. We aren’t super close, but that’s ok. I know I can count on her and she can count on me. Her office manager, and receptionist are friends too. I am lucky to have these relationships. They make me happy, but it doesn’t make answering that question any easier, when asked that in a meeting. I mean yes I am happy, I love my job, I love who I work with, and I love that I have the flexibility in my job to have my girls with me in the rig when I go on appointments, but when both sides are working hard to make sure the other side is happy it’s somewhat awkward to answer the question. I will say this it is really nice to be in a workplace where people are treated with respect and we genuinely have fun working with each together. That is happy.

Last night was church night for the kids, sometimes all three like going to church, but mostly it’s just two of the kids that really get excited to go. I pray a lot about this because church is important, but I know deep down I can’t force my kids to think or believe like I do. My hubby and I can guide and pray, and then pray some more, but at the end of the day, we plant the seeds, God waters them. Last night though, I didn’t have to fight anyone. I didn’t have to try and persuade, or try to understand why a person didn’t want to go. All three of my kiddos finished their dinners and hoped in the car to go. I am a firm believer that on the days you really don’t want to go, those are the days you should really be there. This made me happy that they all went, because even if they didn’t get much out of the message they still got to go and do fun things with their friends. In the times we are in that doesn’t happen very much, so I am happy at least for that.

Two nights ago I finished a really good book. It was one of those books that you make sure you set time aside just so you can read and not get bothered. Sadly I finished it, happily I finished it. I love books that aren’t too “heavy”. I like to get lost in the book. I like to think about what it is I read, even better when I can connect to the characters/author. It’s an escape for me. In my house my family likes to joke about the fact that while everyone (and I mean everyone) plays video games my nose is stuck in a book. I don’t do video games at all, my hand/eye coordination is probably horrible, but I could tell you some good stories based on the books I read. Like I said earlier though books are my way to unwind and escape. Sometimes my work can be stressful, sometimes being a parent/wife can be stressful. I wouldn’t trade what I do or have for anything, but I will escape it for a little bit. When reading it becomes “my time”, and this makes me happy.

Happiness is a feeling, it’s not selfish to be happy, but sometimes it’s hard to find the happiness in the world around us so we have to work at finding it. Happiness and joy are linked but you don’t have to have one in order to have the other. Joy comes from knowing who you are and being ok with it, it is knowing that you belong to Christ, it is finding peace in the moments. Happiness can come from everyday situations. You can have happiness and not know your joy yet. You can have joy and have times of not being happy. Happiness in all forms, sheets dried on the line (smells like summer), cheesecake, a child’s hug, a friend’s listening ear, a day on the couch, a motorcycle ride, time with family and so much more. So what does happiness look like for you? Until next time:

Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.

Is It Love Though?

All I want is peace and happiness

I was reading a devotion the other day about love. Shocker that the verse that is associated with the devotion was:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I live in a house with two teenage girls, a son and a husband who all have opinions on life and how it should be lived. We coexist with each other pretty well for the most part, but there are definitely times when I would love to maintain the peace. I have been told to “pick my battles” and I do for the most part, but when I choose to remain silent when I should speak up isn’t showing love to my family. This could be as simple as talking to one of the girls about a post they put up on Instagram and how they don’t see it as offensive but I do. It could be bringing up the “raw topic” of not getting the allowance for a week because the chores were not getting done. It could be about what to do with the tithe money when one of the girls wants to take a break from church for a bit. Some topics are simple and are mentioned once and then done. Others not so much, they turn into conversations that will last a long time because they are important ones about life. If I chose to not speak up about these different topics I would then be saying that I will tolerate what is happening and thus let them know that I think it’s ok. That would not be love.

The more and more I live in this world, the more and more I see that there is a lack of love. Not the gushy, sloppy love that is portrayed everywhere but the love that is patient, is kind, is not easily angered or self seeking. This is not easy. We get upset when someone cuts us off while on the way to work, we get even more upset when we try and have a conversation and get interrupted constantly. We get upset when our best laid plans go up in smoke just because someone announces they are going against the grain. I am not saying that we shouldn’t get upset, sometimes that needs to happen. Jesus had cause to get upset on multiple occasions, and when he did they were not temper tantrum fits. Jesus was very patient with those he met, he talked with people with love, and acceptance. Even when those same people were causing Him harm, he didn’t lash out but he did fight for them with prayer.

James 1:19-20 says this:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires

James was talking to the twelve tribes that had been scattered among the nations. He was having to encourage and teach people that were in the world about what it will mean to be Christians and to have people mock and ridicule them. How closely this resembles our world today. Peace and happiness are properties to strive for, so are honesty and humbleness. A friend of mine that I worked with years ago saw I was getting upset with a client on the phone. The client wasn’t being the nicest of people and she was demanding that I take care the problem right then and there. I was getting frustrated with her as well as the person who had told her the wrong information that had caused the problem in the first place. So I put her on hold. I proceeded to go into the back treatment area to rant and let off some steam. My friend heard me and asked how she could help. I told her the situation, she listened and then said “here let me handle it”. I was curious to see how she would handle this client so I followed her back up to the reception desk. I was amazed! My friend got on the phone, and in a very quiet and calm voice she started talking to the lady. My friend had to repeat herself a couple of times, but that was only because she kept talking in a quiet and calm voice and the lady on the other end couldn’t hear her because she wasn’t expecting to have to “listen”. Even before the phone call was over I realized that I had the same problem the lady on the other end had, I didn’t think I had to “listen”. My friend calmed the lady down by being calm and listening. I learned that day, that most of the time when people are upset it’s because they feel like they are not being heard. I had gone into the conversation with the lady already geared up for a fight. I didn’t show humbleness, I was not patient, and I definitely had a list of wrongs I was sure this lady had. I didn’t go in with love at all.

Peace and happiness are only good if they are pure and true. If problems are ignored and conversations don’t happen just because you don’t want to upset the balance of peace and happiness, then what you have is not real. Sadly you will not be liked all of the time, this is hard for me to say because I don’t like having people think badly of me, but over the years I have learned that people are not the end all. God is. That is where the joy is found. I have had to have hard discussions with people, I have disagreed with choices being made, but I also realize I am far from perfect. If something needs to be said or done, I have to go and say it/do it with love and humbleness, and instead of fighting battles with harsh words and deeds, I need to fight them on my knees in prayer. Until next time:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

Simpler Times?

Can we go back to the days when life was easier?

Was there really such a time? I am not so sure, I have been told that hindsight is 20/20. When you look back things seem like they were easier and simpler but were they? Parents look back and remember they used to think the toddler stage was hard, as they go through the teenage stage. Or when you had a good system going at work and then one small thing gets tweaked which changes everything. Or when the family dynamic gets changed but the attention of one furry little floofball who doesn’t like you when you wear your work clothes so she cowers and barks until your clothes are changed. Or when your teen decides that she wants to do things her own way and you have to step back and fight your battles in prayer. Over the last few weeks, ok months really life has been changing, I didn’t really notice the changes so much until I looked back and saw the “simpler times” compared to the times I have going on right now.

I remember as a young momma people telling me to enjoy them while they are young, time goes by so fast. So I would do my best to enjoy my times with my kiddos and to try not to worry about the upcoming teenage years. I am a newbie “teenage momma”. I have two teenage girls who are very, very different but the same as well. I was joking with them the other day about them teaming up to see how many grey hairs they could get to pop out of my head. I really do think they target me as the softie momma who tries to hear them out, but there are days where this momma heart can’t take any more. You can’t really prepare for the teen years, you can really only guard your heart with prayer, make sure not to take too many things seriously, have room for laughter and know most of what your teens throw at you is them feeling you out because they are trying to figure out who they are and they need to know you are in their court. This knowledge doesn’t stop me from wishing for the “simpler times” when their opinions closely matched yours, the biggest problem you had was that they didn’t want to eat the dinner you made them and the fact their fashion statement of wearing undies on their heads was the big thing that caused tears.

So where does joy come into all of this. I try to joyfully live life, and I do most of the time. But joy isn’t about happiness and laughter. Joy is about something deeper. It’s about knowing who you belong to. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you back and will have your back. Joy is knowing that you don’t have to be ok all of the time. Joy is love of family and friends and knowing that your crazy teenage girls still trust you enough to talk to you even if what they tell you blows your mind and makes you want to bury your head in the sand. Joy is admitting to yourself that there are some things that are out of your hands. That you really don’t have control of “everything” Joy comes from knowing you don’t have to to have control.

I love looking back on the days when my kids were younger. The pictures show how “sweet and innocent” they were. I know when I was going through those times I would look back and remember how “easy” things were before kids. The problem is I keep looking back. It’s in the past. It doesn’t matter if they were “simpler times”. Those times are gone, being in the now is where I need to be. I learned a lot “way back when” but I am learning a lot now. I love having conversations with my kids. I love using the knowledge I gained from the past to grow in the now. I know looking back will happen. I know the future me will look back on what is happening right now and think “man those were simpler times”. I know that I will grow from these experiences I am having. Right now is stressful, right now is hard, right now is right where I want to be. Surround yourself with people and things that bring out the joy. Find God again, and pray, not as a last resort but like you are having a conversation with your best friend, because you are. Until next time:

Appreciate What You Have

This week my boss got to go on a vacation, and a much needed one at that. While she is gone we as the staff have a laundry list of things we want to get done before she gets back. Somehow this list seems to get longer and longer the longer she is gone. To make matters even more interesting is that we are all determined to not call/text or bug her in any way while she is gone. This is the hardest of all tasks, because though we know she is gone, and we have tried to tell our clients that she is unavailable, there are still those out there that need their pet’s doctor. So what is it about people being unavailable that makes them more needed. It’s not like the animals waited until she left town to get sick or hurt.

The saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” comes to mind. Though it is only a week, our doctor is missed. The same holds true in every day life. Two years ago my hubby was gone for 6 months almost straight. When we first agreed to him going over seas I didn’t think it would be too difficult. The kids were in school and when I got off of work I would spend time with them while making dinner with weekends reserved for us doing something as a family. The first month was smooth sailing, months 2-6 were progressively rockier, with us all being really excited to have Tim come home. We didn’t realize how hard it would be on the family having him gone. Now he isn’t allowed to go anyway (kidding…..kind of). We were lucky in the sense that we got to have him back, some people aren’t as lucky and they have to live a new normal without their loved ones.

A friend and I were talking a couple days ago about how quickly things can change and there is really no way to know when it will happen. People loose their jobs, people get new opportunities opened up for them. People get left behind, while others seem to be in the right spot at the right time. Celebrations can happen on a whim just as quickly as tears of sorrow flow over the loss of a loved one. Having teenagers will teach parents quickly enough the fact that nothing ever stays the same or is as it seems. To say you need nerves of steel just to parent is an understatement. With all of this, looking for the solid foundation is key, whether you are rooted in your faith, have a solid family connection, or have friends that have been with you through thick and thin, if you can’t find your strength you are not going to make it very long.

I was in the car today with a friend of mine. She has had such great loss in her life within the last few months, it’s amazing that she hasn’t gone crazy. I know she has her moments of grief and sorrow that overtake her, but she seems to find her strength again when she gives herself a purpose. So today she helped me with house calls. Tomorrow she will do things around the house, the next day after that she will keep going, she has her faith, she has her family and she has her will to keep moving forward. She knows what it means to appreciate what she did have, but knows that moving forward is part of healing.

Take time to have fun, to laugh. Don’t take life so seriously. Get together with friends and family. Bake some cookies and share them. Write a letter to someone. Get your head out of the book/or off the electronic device and talk to the other person in the room. Go to church. Sing a song. Dance in the rain or make a snow angel. If nothing else, when your pet’s favorite doctor comes back from her vacation, stop by and let her know it’s good to have her back. Until next time:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Valentine Shenanigans

It’s a love/hate relationship

Ahh Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love, a day to spend time with loved ones. A day to play a brutal game of Monopoly? I can say there was no love around the table yesterday as the game got under way. It started with properties being bought up and eventually having hotels built on them to properties being bought, sold, traded and mortgaged to get out of debt all in the name of landing on a property with said hotel placed on it. There was the moments in which an older sister tried to bamboozled the younger brother out of his properties to rolling the dice before someone realized rent was owed to them. If there ever was a person that said Monopoly was a civilized game they were lying. With all this being said. We laughed, we yelled, we negotiated, I think we even had some tears shed but we had fun.

The raw emotions of the game will soon be smoothed over by the smell and then taste of homemade cookies. The traditional valentine gifts have already been given and mostly consumed (chocolate filled hearts don’t usually last long) and the “surprise” dinner that the hubs and I will have later will be ordered and picked up when Tyler is dropped off at the “parent’s night out” at the church. Not a traditional Valentine’s but one that is spent with loved ones.

Valentine’s Day looks different for many people. Flowers are given, candlelit dinners are prepared, and outings are planned. Valentine’s Day ushers in springtime, new growth and new beginnings. I wish I could say I believe that with snow and wind outside my window but the day does bring a certain amount of hope with it and yes “joy”. The day was spent with my loved ones. With the colder weather outside it meant we did more indoor things. Baking cookies and quietly stealing cookie dough being one of them. Games were played and projects completed. I am looking forward to warmer weather and spring flowers. I am enjoying the playfulness of Charlie the puppy and the look of contentment on Jorj’s face as he sleeps in between the spurts of Charlie excitement.

The smell of cookies is strong and almost impossible to ignore. I am excited for the “special dinner” tonight with my hubby. I am excited that my son gets to go have fun tonight and the girls are looking forward to movies tonight and playing their respective new games they just got. Valentine’s Day may look somewhat boring in my home but it is where my heart belongs. How does it look in your home? Do you go out and do something special? Do you stay in for the night? Do you gather your girlfriends up and go do an adventure together? With whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you do what you want to do that brings your heart joy.

The Joy Of The Puppy

Ok I feel like I should stay focused but it’s really hard when I am sitting in my dining room watching my new puppy Charlie try and take on my cat Lilly. It’s a loosing battle for the pup but she keeps trying and Lilly keeps not caring. The scene is as follows: Lilly the cat finally gets out of my son’s room to get to the kitchen. First obstacle: little white puppy who is determined to bark, run, come back all the way to the kitchen in which Lilly gets onto the counter where her food is. Charlie decides that this is unacceptable since Lilly did not play her game all the way to the kitchen so she gets as close as she can to Lilly who is still on the counter and proceeds to bark, run and come back. Lilly adds in her own specialty of a hiss and a swat in between stealing some leftover mac and cheese on the stove. Poor Jorj scratches at the door to be let in, leaving a lag in the “game” for Lilly to get on top of the cupboards.

Cue Jorj: Mr. Jorj dog really just wants to get on the couch but can’t seem to make it there since Charlie the now bouncy puppy has decided that jumping from said couch over Jorj to the ottoman is the new fun game to play. So back and forth she goes, and as she jumps she causes the ottoman to move so the last jump attempt meant she landed on the back legs of poor Mr. Jorj. Cue the “dog fight” if you want to call it that. There is pulling and tugging of skin, trying to catch each other’s back legs and the ever present growling and showing of teeth. Playing really until Charlie gets tired of the game and takes the toy Jorj was looking forward to chewing on. Ahhhh well the couch is now free.

Cue the toy: With Jorj lounging on the couch now, and Lilly silently trying to get more mac and cheese, Charlie takes on the toy. Usually she can get one of us humans to put treats in the toy but for now she is content…..cue poor Lilly again. Charlie leaps off the ottoman like she’s jumping out of a plane, snags a piece of Jorj flesh and she takes on the race of a lifetime getting Lilly to go under the bed.

For Charlie this has been a daily routine (if you want to call it that) since she became ours 4 weeks ago. She thinks she is big and tough until someone new comes in, when she is on a walk she is so excited to meet the dog barking at her until she does. Jorj brings calm and normalcy, whereas Charlie seems to focus as well as a two year old in a candy shop. This is the joy of a puppy. Charlie prances on her walk when she gets to carry the stick she found. She is excited to get her breakfast and dinner and she has picked her people to follow. She doesn’t care who she plops down on (she has taken that cue from Jorj) and she’ll whip you with her tail if you talk to her enough.

I look at her and wonder how (if it’s even possible) to have some of that puppy joy? I know the joy of eating a really good meal (cheesecake or street tacos anyone?). When I see my people I smile big and know I am home. Not so sure about taking on a hissing, swatting cat but Charlie looks danger in the eye and barks at it. Older siblings are always fun to mess with and when it comes to jumping from couch to ottoman, I’ll take jumping for joy because of something awesome that just happened. And then at the end of it all just plopping down on the couch for a two hour cat nap, what could be better than that?

I am joy in a wooly coat, come to dance into your life, to make you laugh!

Julie Church

I Just Want To Crash And Burn

Yesterday was the day, we planned for about 2 weeks to do a family outing that was much needed. We bought out tickets, found someone to hang out with our puppy for the morning, packed our lunches the night before and got ready to leave. About and hour and a half later we arrived at our destination. As we piled out of the car the kids started to comment on how big the hill looked. The observed that it looked a lot taller than the last time we had been here 3 years ago, which I thought odd since they were younger then. We handed over our tickets to get the passes we needed and went to get the snow tubes the resort provided for us. The hill had five lanes, with snow berms dividing them. Some wise person a while back put in a conveyor belt that would bring people and their tubes up to the top of the hill, and from there they just had to pick a lane, and go. Snow tubing at it’s finest.

At first my girls decided that a double tube would be the best choice since they felt they would be staying together for the whole time, so that is what they grabbed. Tyler, Tim and I went for the single tubes since we knew that if we wanted to be together all we had to do was hold on to each others tubes, but if we wanted to go down separately we could as well. First time down the girls had a blast, went up onto the berms but stayed in their lane. When Tim, Tyler and I got to the top it was determined Tyler wasn’t ready to do the hill by himself yet so I held to his tube and Tim went by himself. This happened for a few more times, but as we stood in line to get to the top and watched the other tubers go down we and the other spectators started to noticed that certain lanes were faster than the others, and we noticed that they had more riders on the berms, going over the berms into other lanes, or they riders themselves were flipped off their tubes. We also noticed it was the bigger groups that had more of the “burn outs” as well as adults. The smaller kids were fine and stayed in their lanes (unless they happened to be attached to an adult who “crashed and burned”). I am sure you know where this is going. Now all of the adrenaline junkies knew what lanes to get into and were determined to see how far they would fly, how many lanes they would cross over into, and how many berms they could “ride”. Now I will say this, there is a guy at the top of the hill that won’t allow people to use a lane until the previous rider has gotten out of the way, but that doesn’t stop the accidental crossing of lanes in which tubes collide.

I found out real quick who the adrenaline junkies were in my family. Leah and Tim both got this look in their eye and they started to plan. They figured if they got into lane one or two they had a better chance at at least getting onto the berm if not going up and over it. Since Leah and Tabby were together most of the morning Tabby decided to hang with me instead. Tim on the other had decided to just wing it on his own for a little bit since Tyler and I were not interested in turning head over heels in front of spectators. So after a run or two Tim managed to get bumped off his tube in which he dug his shoulder into the not so soft snow. I little sore but no worse for wear. Leah still had not managed to catch the flight she wanted but she was determined. I was not going to be the one to tell her that she probably didn’t have the weight behind her to get her up off the ground. Near the end of the time we had, we all decided to do a run as a family. The five of us all holding onto each others tubes going down the lane chosen at the same time. This was Leah’s time to shine! First attempt was down lane 2, not as fast and flight worthy as lane 1 but we did it anyways. Sadly as we started down the lane one of the tubes was let go accidentally so though the ride was fast and the berm was rode, no one went flying. The second attempt and sadly the last because our scheduled time was up was in lane one. The fasted lane and the one that was proven to send people flying the most. We positioned our tubes in a way that we hoped would set someone to flight. We started down the lane fast, the snow was spraying our faces and as we approached the turn in which flight could be had, some tubes were released but others not so the only person who went somewhere not intended was Tabby as she and her tube flew up and over the berm and into the lane next to us. Leah later admitted that since she knew it wasn’t going to be her that got to “crash and burn” it might as well be someone. Poor Tabby. Luckily she staying on her tube and reached her final destination at the bottom of hill albeit not in her original lane.

As we all piled into the car for the trip home, we all agreed it was a fun day. I know in the next few days I will be feeling the bumps and bangs of the lanes since I was not able to keep my back side from hitting the thin bottom of the tube, but it will be worth it. There wasn’t any fighting, there was a little bit of competition, racing each other down the mountain, we just had fun together. It set in my mind that though the Sunday rule of now electronics is no more, it is still very important to do things as a family. We may be “around” each other all week long but we don’t interact with each other much. Electronics get in the way, school gets in the way, work gets in the way. By scheduling time to be together as a family, it solidifies the fact that we need to be there for each other and that family is important. So what is it you do with your family? Are you so busy that you don’t see them much? Try setting a time each week to be with each other, it doesn’t have to be something you spend money on, it could be just a board game at the table. If it’s important enough, time will be made to make it happen. Until next time:

The adrenaline and stress of an adventure are better than a thousand peaceful days.

Paulo Coelho

Tunnel Vision

I am told I get tunnel vision a lot. I focus on what needs to get done and I don’t pay attention to what is going on around me. I don’t tend to see this as a bad thing until it’s brought to my attention that I have been doing something for hours and have forgotten other aspects of my day. This actually worked in my favor (kind of) when the end result was my husband bringing our new puppy Charlie home, see my blog: From Oops to Puppy. When I was younger I remember it being kind of a joke in the family because my mom was the same way. If there was something we lost, all we had to do was tell mom and she would go into search mode and not stop until it was found. Granted we had to stand in a corner and try to remember where we put said object but if it was going to be found mom would find it.

Tunnel vision can be pretty awesome though, especially when something like house cleaning needs to get done. If you turn on your favorite tunes and block out all other distractions, add a little frustration and you are set. I have been known to clean our whole house in 2 hours all while mentally making a list of all the new chores the other family members will be getting. My oldest daughter Tabby will zone out for hours just drawing on her digital drawing pad. She will turn on her music or podcast and just draw, it is actually pretty cool to watch because she is doing something she really loves. My middle daughter Leah is the same way when she gets into creating masks in her room or paining random objects. She has been known to work for hours on her different designs. When you get to have tunnel vision doing something you like, it makes all the difference. It’s hard when distractions keep happening and you have to figure out where you left off or you loose your hard earned focus.

Tunnel vision can cause some hurt feelings and frustrations as well. I was talking with a client today who mentioned she really liked that the vet didn’t just focus on the patient, she took the time to “notice” the owner and see they are going through whatever their pet is going through with them. She said with other vets she used, they would come in, do an exam, “listen” to the owner, treat the animal and then move on. They never took the time to see if the owner understood what was going on, they never asked if the owner was doing ok with the issues their pets were having. She felt as if she was just the random person in the room, who happened to know the pet. The doctors had tunnel vision but not in a productive way, and so she was turned off and went looking for another vet who would see her as well as her pet. A few months ago I started to realize that I was looking at people and listening to them but I wasn’t actually actively looking and listening. I had a “I need to get stuff done” tunnel vision. It was a very bad thing to have. I missed out on some really good conversations because I felt I really needed to get something else done instead of paying attention. I would end my day knowing I interacted with people but not remembering who I interacted with. I was not ok with this. So I decided to change (still a work in progress). When someone started to talk with me, I would stop what I was doing and interact. When someone looked at me I made sure to look them in the eye and smile. When I was getting overwhelmed I would ask the person talking to repeat themselves. More often than not, I had to mentally turn off the “tunnel vision” to be in the moment.

Lately I have been around my family a little more, this means that I have to “clock out” of the work mode I am so used to and “clock in” to the family mode that I want be more center stage. This means taking a few moments in my car to physically clock out, and mentally clock into what I will walk into when I go inside the house. This means that when I come in I put my stuff down and change out of my work clothes and into regular clothes so that I physically feel like I am home. I try to keep work and home separated and they only mingle when I need to have a listening ear after a hard day.

Tunnel vision isn’t always bad, if you have been to Yosemite you know that the view you get after going through the tunnel on the way to the valley is breathtaking. It seems that with everything moderation is key. What kind of tunnel visions do you get? Do they overtake your day? Do they help you to get creative? What do you do when you know you need to get away from tunnel vision for a bit? I would love to hear from you. Until next time:

I woke up this morning and realized I don’t have what it takes to sit back and be average.

Stomping My Foot

Why can’t things just stay the same?

Back when the kids were younger and we were younger as parents it seemed so hard, and then the kids grew to be teenagers, and that’s when we realized how easy we had it when they were kids. I am all in for a good cry and that was something that I had yesterday morning. It was one of those crys that made you tired afterwards but it released so much built up stress and worries that it was refreshing to have. I really do have a good life with not much to complain about, but there are times when it seems that everything is thrown at me all at once. I deal with it and I deal with it until it is bottled up enough the tears just start to flow. My hubby is sweet enough to realize that I need the cry (and smart enough to let me have it), because he knows that afterwards I can get back to the “regularly scheduled program”.

So what was the big deal this time? Change. Plain and simple. I don’t do change that well, especially when it means that I don’t get to have some semblance of control. Things in my family have changed, not for the bad but different from what I would consider normal and so I must comply and pray that as I loose part of the control I had that God always had the control and still has total control. My work atmosphere changed, I went from working at two hospitals (one with multiple doctors, other with just one) and reducing my hours so that family time could increase. Charlie our newest addition to the family was a fun and somewhat different change in the sense that she isn’t your normal puppy. She is crate trained already (at least at night) but doesn’t understand fully that we are not here to harm her but to help her. Must be hard to be a dog but have to learn how to be one, thank you Jorj for teaching her “the way”. As my family knows, I absolutely hate to be cold (yes I know I live in a state that has cold winters), so when the weather changes to below 70 degrees I tend to voice my opinion a little bit more. You see all of these changes are not bad, and for the most part have enriched my life.

White puppy sleeping on bed
Charlie the pretzel puppy

Stomping my foot may feel good in the moment but does it really help? Maybe if with each stomp I learned how to deal with the different changes, but I haven’t gotten that info yet and I have been stomping my foot for a while now. I think change makes you realize that you don’t have as much control as you thought you did. Families change all of the time, maybe not in people coming and going but in the maturing of the minds and the “fingering out who they are moments”. Oh to have my kids stay in the state of mind where they don’t have opinions and they just go with what I tell them to do. Wait, no that would be terrible, I love talking to my kids about their thoughts and beliefs, especially in the world that is going on around them. I just wish that they didn’t have such “worldly views” at times. My momma heart has a hard time with that. Stomping my foot won’t change that they are growing up, it just makes my foot hurt.

Mother bear fighting with cub
Momma bear having a momma moment with cub

Changing jobs was something that needed to be done. Stomping my foot wasn’t fixing problems and neither was I. Reducing my hours and working for just one hospital was a good choice for both hospitals as well as myself. I learned that with me being gone at the multiple doctor hospital others that hadn’t been doing their jobs to the best of their abilities had to step up and do them. I may have been a crutch, and so by me leaving I can hope that they will learn and grow and reach their full potential. It’s so hard when you know what someone is capable of but they refuse to embrace their training and knowledge. Maybe now this will happen. At my full time job (the single doctor practice) I may stomp my foot for some of the same reasons but the potential for people to grow and learn is so much greater. My reduced hours meant more to me than anything though, and since much of what I do is mobile I can have my kids (one at a time ) come with me. Something I haven’t been able to do at a job before. No stomping feet here.

People are forced into change all of the time. How they deal with it reveals the kind of person they are. Complaining, comparing and accusing the person or situation of causing you ill because of the change only leads you down the path of being bitter. Embracing the change and knowing that you must move forward will bring hard times probably but also growth. Ask the cancer patient who fought and won. Ask the single parent who supported his family and thrived. As the new business owner who buckled down, worked hard and succeeded. The change was not easy, but they chose to press on, move forward and stomp their feet in the direction they needed to go. Until next time:

Runners exalt the marathon as a public test of private will, when months or years of solitary training, early mornings, lost weekends, rain and pain mature into triumph or surrender. That’s one reason the race-day crowds matter, the friends who come to cheer and stomp and flap their signs and push the runners on.

Nancy Gibbs

Away From The Everyday

Ever wish you could just get away for a bit?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to get away from my life. I have a great job, great friends, my family is always looking out for me and I really have nothing to complain about. Lately the stress has a been a little higher but only because of the different roles that must be played when life continues to march forward. This past weekend I got to get away, a friend let us borrow her cabin for the weekend and so we packed our bags, had my bestie come over to spend the night with the kids and animals and the hubby drove into the woods. It was nice, it was calm, the dinner was yummy and the walks with talks were just what I needed. We even got some funny texts from the kids showing they were having a good time too. If anything this weekend showed that we need to schedule more time alone as well as with our family.

All too often we push ourselves to work harder, stay longer, prove ourselves. The world demands that we listen to what is going on, even tries to get us involved with the different stances that we are bombarded with. To say I would love to stay in my own little bubble, my own little world would be an understatement, but since I am a living breathing person, who lives in an ever changing world I must be a part of it. Some things I don’t agree with, others I do with my whole heart. The goal to have when being forced into knowing what is going on in the world is to find your place, your peace and do it daily. I go on walks with my hubby and Jorj each morning. Our new puppy Charlie does not like the cold weather or the leash so she stays home for the walks. Today even, while on our walk we found credit cards in a person’s yard. We knew we couldn’t leave them there, so we took them home found the owners (thanks Facebook) and got the cards back to them. Sadly it was through a stolen car that their cards found and promptly thrown out the window, but they were able to get some peace in knowing those cards would not be used. The world snuck into our walk, but we were able to help the couple at least slightly.

I used to think that if I didn’t watch the news, read the newspaper, look on Facebook, or any other social media that I would be safe from knowing what was happening around me. For the most part that worked, but then I would go to work, or I would talk with my neighbor, or my hubby would promptly inform me on the daily news. I thought if I didn’t know what was happening I could lower my stress levels. In part my plan worked, but then when the human interaction happened my stress levels would go up again because it seemed there was nothing good happening. So I started to look for the good around me. I noticed that when I looked for the good I was able to “get away from the everyday”. Recently I was in a communications class where the professor talked about a little test she did. Since we all still wear our masks it was hard to see when someone was smiling at her or when she smiled at someone. So she actively started to use her eyes to express herself. She started to “smile” with her eyes and deliberately over did her “eye emotions” so people would notice. What she found was that she connected more with people, even got them to “smile” back with their eyes. It started conversations, and she realized with just that small gesture she found the good in the moments.

Where do you find your good? There is a lot in the world that can cause stress and unhappiness. So what do you choose to focus on? How do you “get away from the everyday”? Are there things that trap you in the blah of life? I know that if I don’t find something every day that takes my focus off of the world, I start to feel it emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. So finding my good, finding my smile and my joy is imperative for my overall wellbeing. What we allow to rule us can be the thing that rises us up or keeps us down. So what is it you allow to be in your life? Think on it and choose to find the good. Until next time:

There is always something that can change the thoughts you are thinking. If you choose to let a bad decision/thought rule you, you put yourself in prison. Break free by finding the good in each situation, in doing so you are training yourself to find joy.

The Quiet Of The Moment

The end to a chaotic week

This past week was anything but quiet. I always thought of myself as a somewhat quiet person, getting loud only when the moment requires it. I actually can feel my stress level go up when someone starts to yell or gets upset. I just like my quiet and peace. It is definitely the introvert in me. My world is not quiet though. I have a busy job, that requires I talk to people and then go and have a calm demeanor when dealing with their pets. I have 3 kids that are anything but quiet, and actually had one of them admit to me that they were not comfortable one night when they woke up and realized that our house was really quiet. I admit I didn’t know how to take that news because she was basically saying even in the middle of the night our house it not quiet, which is odd to me since we are all asleep. So what does it mean to be quiet? When we go to the library and are too loud the librarian says “Shhhhhhh!” to us and we lower our voices. When there is someone sleeping we try and walk lighter and keep our voices down. But being quiet could also mean being calmer. Our new puppy Charlie does way better when we are calm with her. Loud noises make he skittish, and when we talk at a higher volume she tucks her tail and hunches low. For people like me, talking quiet to people who are upset or to people who have made me upset helps deflate the situation.

As I said though this week was busy, which meant it was also not quiet. There were people working and moving quick, and getting things done. There were dogs barking, cats meowing and even a guinea pig squeaking. With all of this going on, receptionist are asking questions, talking to clients and taking payments. Assistants are moving animals, cleaning cages and holding animals. When I am in my car going to a client’s house the music is playing, the phone is dinging and ringing and Google maps is just trying to get me to turn right in 500 feet so I don’t have to turn around. Once work is done, I drive home and step inside a house that has dogs playing, girls talking about something that happened on Twitter, and the boy and his dad in an intense game of Fortnight. Amid the “glad you are homes” and the changing of clothes I will hear about everyone’s day within a 5 minute period of being home. Dinner will get done and we will eat, and then a more peaceful night? Mostly, with stories still to be told and school problems to solve the night goes on. Now I am not saying I don’t enjoy the interactions that I have with my coworkers and family, but there is a point, and maybe you have it as well, where it feels like my brain just puts up this wall and from that point on nothing will get past it until I have a chance to unwind. This week has felt like the wall has been up a lot, almost like I was in survival mode. Get through each day just so I could make it to the next day. To say I needed a break and some quiet was an understatement. I think when there is so much “information” thrown at you all the time that is really all you can do, survive.

This weekend was my reset button. A good friend of mine has a cabin in the woods. This weekend my hubby and I were able to get away. My best friend came to the house to spend the night with the kids and the animals and we drove away looking forward to a peaceful weekend. Heck even my intermittent fasting app was telling me I needed this with one of the weekly challenges being do some self care. Well BodyFast I did! Part of Living Joyfully is to realize when your body is going into survival mode and do something about it. Self care has to happen, when you are the type of person who likes to care for others and be there for them, you have to make sure to do the same for yourself. Even if it means scheduling it in your calendar. This trip to the cabin was supposed to happen for our anniversary back in November. Covid and other events prevented the trip back then, and moved the trip to this weekend. The cabin was perfect. A wood burning fireplace, big comfy couches, a steak dinner and alone time with the hubby. We didn’t have a worry or care in the world. The weekend ended with a long walk in the snow, and good conversations. It was a great reset, it drained the survival mode from me and replaced it with a relaxed mode. I have always found peace in the woods, whether camping in a tent or sleeping in a cabin. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize I need a reset to relax mode, and I suffer for it. You always hear the saying “you need to listen to your body” but it seems that is the hardest “command” to follow. Do you ever find yourself going into “survival mode”? How do you cope with it? As important as it is, even the people that are most successful at it are that way because they have made it a habit, something they are not willing to give up. So is taking care of yourself important enough for you? How can you make it happen for you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time:

You are worth the quiet moment, you are worth the deeper breath, you are worth the time it takes to slow down. Be still and rest

Morgan Harper Nicols

And Then There Was Steak

Why does food always smell better when you can’t eat it?

Today is day four of this week’s intermittent fasting. The plan made for this week is no dinners but breakfast and lunch is ok. This is by far the hardest of the plans that I go through. I love my breakfasts and lunches and have all the willpower in the world until I step into the house after a long day at work. My wonderful hubby makes sure dinner is ready to go an on the table pretty close to the time I get home, so the smells I get bombarded with are wonderful. We like to sit down together as a family for dinners so I sit at the table too so that I can interact with the family. Reason number two why this plan is so difficult. I have enticing food on the table and I have to use whatever willpower I have left to not eat it. Sometimes I fail (Tuesday) but mostly I try and have conversations to keep my mind off of it.

So why would I put myself through this? My health is important to me. We live in a world of instant gratification. We want things now and we want them ready to use/eat. We live in a fast paced world where our health tends to take the back burner. When I started working with intermittent fasting I was working two part time jobs, trying to be the best momma/wife I could be and I was taking online courses to further my education. To say I was busy is an understatement. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t loosing the last stubborn 10 pounds, I felt bloated and tired on my off times, and I couldn’t quite kick the mild cold/allergy I seemed to have. I worked out at least 3 times a week and walked/ran daily. I took my nutritional supplements daily and they helped, but not enough to make me feel better. I ate pretty healthy but definitely had/have a sweet tooth. I was getting frustrated. So when my church did their yearly week of fasting I looked into ways that I could do it safely and came across intermittent fasting and some programs I could try.

First thing I learned: Go slowly and give yourself grace, especially if you love food. In my house if you are a guest, I try and feed you. I grew up in a household where we ate while we visited and it usually consisted of snack foods like cakes, cookies and chips. The table is where the deep conversations happened as well as the ones are so funny your belly hurts from laughing so hard. As an adult that didn’t change much, other than the amount of food that was on the table. Once I started working with Advocare and using their products I started to see the importance of healthier foods. I also started to see that conversations and times gathered with friends didn’t always have to have food involved. When I added in intermittent fasting to my routine, I started to see that food was just food, just needed to sustain energy but not needed all of the time. The second thing I learned from the fasting program is that my health started to get better. Even though I had to learn to be hungry, I had more energy and I slept a whole lot better at night. I also didn’t feel sick as often, which really was the shocker to me because I was actually adding more stress to my body with the fasting but because of the fasting my immune system got stronger. I saw that I ate healthier foods when I got to eat and I also drank a lot more water. The cool thing is that the stress that is put on your body with fasting releases the energy stored in excess fat reserves, the bad thing is if you are already super stressed out and you add this stress onto your body, your body starts working against you. Third thing I learned: rest and relaxing is very, very important. Taking time for yourself is important for your health. If you can’t take care of yourself than you really can’t take care of others, nor should you.

This weeks program of skipping dinners is hard. I know this and I have failed a couple of times already, but I also know that it’s ok. What came with this weekly program was a challenge to rest at least one night this week. I need to find a day where I can find a few hours for myself. No “hey mom” from the kids. No “Heather can you come help” from the hubby. Simply a time for myself to do what I want. Nap, read a book, take a walk with the dogs, whatever it is that brings me rest and peace. My goal is to meet that challenge. Intermittent fasting is hard, it can be bad for people who have major health conditions and should not be started unless a discussion with a doctor has been had. It has more good benefits than bad though and helps set routines when routines are hard to come by. It causes people to stop and think about what they are putting in their body, because there is cause and effect. I love sweets but if I have a candy bar after fasting for 12hrs my heart races, my stomach hurts and I start to feeling sluggish. It’s not a good thing. Your health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually should be important to you. Intermittent fasting is just one tool to get to the best you. So what is holding you back? Until next time:

Fasting is a personal journey YOU are not competing with anyone.

It Almost Didn’t Happen

It’s when you don’t want to go that you really should go

When I was younger my mom and dad had us go to church every Sunday and Wednesday nights was a mid week church for kids of all ages. My dad worked a lot and usually had only weekends off so a lot of times it was my mom taking us to church. For the most part we were ok with it but when my siblings and I got a little bit older we started to question why it was we had to go all the time but dad didn’t. I don’t remember if there really ever was a good answer to the question of why dad didn’t go but I do remember dad telling us on numerous occasions “It’s when you don’t want to go that you really should go” and oddly enough he was right about it every time. Dad did start going with us more and more the older we got and even started helping in the church nursery. In some ways it was like he was making up for times when he couldn’t be with us at church when we were younger. The thing about my dad is he is a very hard worker, he loves his family and he loves the Lord. I didn’t always understand his ways, but I know a lot of the way he and mom brought us up makes me who I am today and I am grateful.

Yesterday though was one of those days where we had good intentions for a great day of getting stuff done around the house, playing games with each other as a family and trying to get our new puppy to like the leash. Saturday night we decided to go to the 8:30 service so that we could have the rest of the day to get other stuff done. As morning approached our special dog Jorj had a seizure. This is not new to us and usually he has one and is done. The problem with yesterday morning was that his seizure was at 4:30am and the new puppy Charlie was no longer sleeping peacefully. So after getting Jorj settled down and ready to go back to sleep we had to place Miss Charlie back in her kennel which meant she had to sleep again which was not in her plans. We shut down the lights, made sure the animals all went outside to potty, said our goodnights and proceeded to listen to Charlie scratch and whine for a little while before she realized we were not budging. Sleep came, but so did the alarm to give Jorj his after seizure medications. By the time we were all awake to think about church it was something we were highly debating on doing. Then my dad’s saying came to mind and with that we jumped into the car and got to the church on time.

The sermon wasn’t super special but it was powerful. How often do we allow what goes on around us to dictate how we act and respond. When we feel persecuted for who we are or how we act, sometimes we find that it is easier to conform to the world around us than it is to stand up and stand out. At one of my jobs I had many, many years ago, I worked with a group of people who loved to talk and a make fun of people as they passed by our shop. In the beginning it was so easy to join in with them because I really wanted to fit in but over time I started to see that it didn’t matter if I fit in or not, it just wasn’t right what they were doing and I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, so I stopped. I still had to work with these guys and gals but I didn’t have to participate in what they were doing, so when they would start I would walk away and start working in another part of the shop. Eventually they started to notice that I didn’t do or say what they were doing and saying and a friend of mine asked me why and I just said I didn’t want to. I started to get noticed in a different way, and that was ok with me.

A song that was sung today talked about honoring and serving Jesus in EVERY situation and I found I couldn’t truthfully sing those words, because I don’t do what they say in EVERY situation I am in. I am a Christian but I am not surrounded by Christians. I work with people who have different beliefs than me, and that is ok, but I also work with people who think that all Christians are hypocrites and that is hard to handle. So sometimes I find it easier to “do as they do, or talk as they talk” and that isn’t very honoring to Jesus. Luckily I am not perfect, and I am trying to honor and serve in EVERY situation. Even better is that Love covers all and since Christ is Love I can know that I am not in control and neither are you. All too often we are so hard on ourselves and we give up. We don’t realize that there is grace involved as well as love. We will make mistakes, we will have days were we have to say “I will still go” even when we really don’t want to go, and we will find that was the day we really needed to go. Excuses can be made all the time, but when we decide to get past those excuses and live the life Christ calls us to live, we will find joy and we will start Living Joyfully. Until next time:

Joyfully go out each and every day and you will find happiness will follow.

From Oops To Puppy

I just lost track of time

This morning was supposed to be a wet and cold morning so instead of getting up early my hubby and I decided to sleep in and wait out the storm. When we finally did get up I wanted to get a workout in before the walk since I knew I wouldn’t have time afterwards. My thirty minute workout turned into a 45 minute workout with not time left for a walk sadly. I am not sure about you but there are certain things that help me get my day going. Some people have to have coffee, others a good breakfast, and still others need a good run or a few smacks on the alarm clock so a few extra minutes of sleep can be had. Mine is a cup of Spark, my vitamins and a walk with my dog and hubby. It gets us both out of the house and though we don’t always talk, it’s in the silence that we connect too. So when I planned poorly this morning I missed out on my walk. Admittedly I was a little out of sorts today. It’s like the day didn’t run as smoothly as it would have had I had my walk, I guess I am more a dog than I thought.

I apologized to my hubby and headed to work, knowing that it was going to be a busy one. Now in the last couple of days Tim (the hubby) got it into his head that we needed to get a puppy or at least a companion dog for our Jorj boy. We had talked about it a few months ago but realized we didn’t really have enough time for another dog, but now things are a little different since I will have only one job and the kids are home more with school. The idea was given more ground to grow and from that point on, Tim went looking. Our local humane society didn’t really help much since they had the positive problem of not having very many dogs, and the ones they did have were adopted quickly. That did not sway Tim, he kept looking and I talked to some of my vet friends to let them know we were looking. Let me tell you, the day wasn’t even halfway over before Tim started texting me about some dogs he found on Facebook and even a dog that was brought to the humane society. When he gets determined to do something he does it. So by the time I was driving home from work, I got a text saying he really wanted me to meet “Charlie”

“Charlie” as we have decided to call her, came to us free, which can be a scary thing if you don’t know the reason behind a pet being free. She is a cuddle bug for sure and isn’t confident yet in the surroundings we have put her in, understandably. She managed to poop in the car on the way home and vomit after the initial vet visit, I would not expect anything less. To think I know what is going through this little girl’s mind would be silly other than, she woke up in a really full and crazy household and is now in a quieter calmer household. Her new friend Jorj doesn’t know what to do with her yet and she hasn’t even met the cat Lilly. She does like to snuggle into Tabby’s lap and has made the couch a nice little bed. We shall see how much sleep we get tonight.

I could say that this was my fault, I mean I did mismanage my time this morning and missed my morning walk, but if this is the consequence of my ooops than I can’t say I won’t do it again. The kids are excited to take “Charlie” camping, she is going to be having lots of walks and when Jorj decides to warm up to her they are going to be best buds. Tomorrow I may need a double dose of Spark, Tim may need extra strong coffee but when it comes down to it, I think it will be worth it. Here’s to a long friendship between Jorj and Charlie and here’s to a cute addition to our family. Until next time:

Open your heart to me like the pedals of a flower greeting the morning sun, bask in the warmth of a new beginning, learn to love again

Christy Ann Martine

As Playful As A Puppy

This weekend I had to attend some Zoom classes for my hospice and palliative care training. Four hours each day all on communication. Now I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the class it is more that they started pretty early in the morning and if you are waiting for your Spark to kick in and the instructor is requiring the course to be interactive, you tend to give input that doesn’t necessarily go with the question. This was me, I was the one that admittedly didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to the topic at hand and then I was called upon to give an example. I thought I had hit it spot on, and I did if the answer they wanted was about future goals that the client wanted, rather than how we could help in the here and now. In my defense my lack of attention wasn’t entirely my fault. I had locked myself away in my bedroom to do the classroom, but I could still hear parts of what was going on in the house.

Barking and laughter is what hit my ears just before I was asked to give the example. I had gotten some examples written down on my worksheet but in a fluster to find what was needed to be said I looked at the wrong section. No big deal though, we got through the section and I went back to actively listening, and luckily the next time I heard the laughing and barking was after my class was over. When next it did happen I was sitting on the couch when my daughter came out with Jorj’s (my dog) favorite toy filled with his favorite treat. Right in front of my eyes my dog turned into a puppy on steroids and springs. Tabby was playing keep away with Jorj’s toy and he was bound and determined to get it. He was jumping, diving and pushing up against her to get his toy. His eyes were dilated and his bark was loud. Tabby’s laughter was almost as loud as the screeches that were intermixed. Jorj jumped on almost all of the surfaces in our living room to reach his toy and was going to get it whether he knocked Tabby over or grabbed in from her hand. It was a fun game of keep away that slowed for just a bit when he finally got the toy to have it taken away again to start the game again. I love days like I had this weekend. The game Tabby played with Jorj turned into a lively board game with the family, which turned back into the keep away game with Jorj. We as a family get so busy during the week and especially now that the kids are going back into in person schooling today, our family needs days like this weekend where we just play with each other.

Some of my favorite times with my family are when we let our guards down and we just play. My hubby and son get rough and tumble with each other which draws out my middle daughter from her room to get into the mix. My oldest daughter and I tend to not be as adventurous in our game playing as the other three unless it comes to the dog and Tabby playing and then we all get out of the way. My play of choice is to get the family involved in a board game and we got some great new ones for Christmas with our favorite one being about stupid deaths and throwing soft burritos at each other (leave a comment if you want the game names). Sometimes it is so fun to play like a puppy. You get the giggles and next thing you know you are having side cramps because you are laughing so hard. I have written blog posts before about taking your cues from your pets and I am repeating that advice again today. How simple to find joy in a game of keep away, or chasing a ball. How simple to take a nap on a Sunday or go on a walk with the family. After Jorj and Tabby had finished their second round of keep away, Jorj promptly got up on his favorite couch to take a short nap. I sat next to him and the sweet boy rested his head on my arm and started to snore. I took his advice and propped my head on a pillow and started to snore away too.

Play like a puppy and then rest like one too. Joy comes from that too. Before my class ended each day the instructor instructed us to do something for ourselves the rest of the day. She knew that most of us had already worked a long week and had made it a point to give up our weekend (at least the morning) to come to class. She placed importance on taking care of ourselves. I am not sure if everyone took her advice, but I know I did. I played like a puppy, I took a nap, I exercised and I was present with my family, because of that I know I can face my week. When is the last time you played like a puppy or at least napped like one? When is the last time you were actually present with someone? When is the last time you let your guard down and just had fun? If it’s been a while, maybe you should change that hum? Until next time:

Laugh like you need it, play like a child does, and love like they deserve it. Surprise people, and see them open up to the fun.

It’s All In The Smile

I don’t know what you are talking about

My daughter started playing with Minecraft again, and found out our neighbor was also on it, which led them to start talking again. The neighbor kids and our kids have grown up together and we literally had the “talk with the neighbor” over the fence conversations a lot. We even continplated making a gate that led to each other’s back yards. My adventursome hubby even said he would do a zipline from roof to roof, but then a few years back the neighbor decided to build a bigger fence around his property and that ended the over the fence converstations. Sadly as well, as the kids grew, interests went different ways and so they stopped talking with each other. Then Mincraft came into the picture and all of a sudden the conversations picked up, at least with my daughter and my neighbor’s son. The more they talked, the more it became apparent that there was the start of a crush going on.

I am lucky enough that my daughter talks to me and shares her life. So when she admitted that she had a small crush, I started to smile. Now in my mind it was your normal everyday smile, but to her it was a smile that said “ohhhhhh how cute” and “I am so excited to hear you are talking to him”. After this smile would appear on my face she would turn turnup red and start a giggle fit like you wouldn’t believe. I started to realize when I was doing this smile so that I could pull it out occationally at get the giggle fest started all over again.

My middle daughter has another type of smile, it’s the kind that says “I’m innocent, but not really”. Usually this smile comes out when she has created something in her room. She is at the stage where she is seeing who she is, and where she fits in in the world. She is also at the stage where testing her boundaries is a huge part of her everyday life. First and foremost, that girl could hear a flea fart. We whisper her name in our back bedroom and she comes flying out of her room which is in the front of the house. Most of the time Leah’s smile is just that, a smile, when she chooses to bless us with one. Normally though, we see her smile when she is doing something that resembles the WWF ring with her brother, and sometimes her dad. I don’t think she even knows she has given us the elusive smile but it is there in between the laughter and the headlocks.

Then there is my youngest, the smiles that he tends to give us are innocent enough, but sometimes can mean things like “I’m being nice, can I buy this?” or “I know it’s time for bed but I just wanted to snuggle, and giggle a little with you”. He knows he has mastered the smile, but thankfully I get the smile that comes from when I come home from work and it lights up his face and comes with a hug. I will always welcome those. Smiles that light up the room are the best smiles ever! I am sure you have met people over the years that can change the whole atmostphere of a gathering by smiling and being genuine.

This world more than ever needs a smile. Everyone has something going on that they may not talk about. I know we are not all in the same boat. Heck some of our boats are litte while others are big yaughts. We are all trying to get to shore. We are all fighting the storms that rage around us. So with this, since we don’t know what other people are going through, give a little smile to someone. Heck if you know the person give a hug. I wrote about my friend Mary and her son David in my blog “Just Keep Waiting” who gave the best hugs ever! They could squeeze the sad from you. Smiles can be soft, they can be mischievious, they could be bright, and even just friendly. It wil cost you absolutely nothing. If anything you might just get one back, and realize that you needed one as much as the person you gave yours too. Until next time:

Use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile

Chinese proverb

Change Is Coming

Why does it seem so hard?

Change happens all around us, and once we think we are done with it, something else pops up to cause us to take a step back and re-adjust. The new year is only 4 days old and we have already had a stimulus check promised, a snow storm and here soon a new walk in life. There seems to be a fear that surrounds the word “change”, and there are people out there that are known to not take change well. During the Christmas break, my always moving husband decided to rearrange the kitchen cupboards, create and build a desk for our daughter and install almost entirely by himself some much needed cages at the clinic I work at. He has created a lot of changes, but when it comes to changes happening around him or to him he doesn’t handle them as easily as when he is the one making the changes. When it comes down to it, there is a lack of control for the person the change is being made to and it is uncomfortable.

Not all change is bad though. Yes, there may be an uncomfortable challenge that comes with the change but that doesn’t make the situation bad. Over the couple of years I have been working two jobs. For those who follow this blog, this is not news to you. I have been able to handle the work load pretty well up until this last year when Covid hit and the veterinary world got busier than we already were. I went from working about 30-40hrs a weeks to working about 40-55hrs a week in between the two jobs on top of being a momma/wife and trying to have a life outside of work. I then got the notion that I needed to get some specialized training in Hospice and Palliative Care for animals, queue the starting of a year and a half of training. I love all of the different aspects of my life. Both jobs have people I have fun working with, and my family is where my happy place is. The decision to let one go had to be made and so it came down one of my two jobs. Now here comes the hard part of saying good bye to one part of my life so the other parts of my life can thrive.

This is where happiness goes hand in hand with joy. In order to find my happiness again and not be so tired all the time something has be be sacrificed. The hard part of change. And so I will go and give a two week notice to my office manager, I will work hard, and laugh hard those last two weeks and then I will walk away knowing that it was for the best. I will cry, and I will miss my co-workers but it will be a change for the good. I will be able to really get into my training, I will be home when my kids get home from school, and I will have the flexibility in my week to start doing things I enjoy doing, like creating and reading and the ever present exercising that I love doing.

I have learned over the years that you are the only person (with God) that can find your peace. There will be those who try and take it away, there will be situations that will try and make you anxious, but when you know your joy and your strength you can breeze past those people and situations. This is a new year, with new experiences waiting to be enjoyed. You have one life to live, so if you find that you are working your life away and not finding the joy in even the small things, it might be time to make a change. January comes with New Year’s resolutions and at least this year stimulus checks. Instead of promising yourself that this is the year you’re going to loose that stubborn 20 pounds, why not instead chose a word or phrase that you want to try and live your life by. Courage, peace, happiness, change, even choosing Joy are all words to strive to have. Loose that 20 pounds even, but do it because it can be good for you, but also who else might benefit from it? Kids, family, hubby, wife? Look ahead and know change is inevitable, it may not always be easy, and some of it will be downright hard, but go at it with courage and strength from above and you will make it. Until next time:

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”

― Roy T. Bennett

Choose Your Hard

Chocolate cheesecake? Cinnamon cheesecake?

Oh the decision I am faced with today. My week has been a little bit hard and today was just long. I am an emotional eater and will on occasion eat because I am tired. We did a secrete Santa gift exchange last week and my most favorite person ever (I have a lot, I know) gave me the gift my heart (ok my stomach) desired. Four, yes count them four whole, yummy looking, irresistible cheesecakes. Since my name was put on the package I know I don’t have share them with anyone, this is my first “hard” of the week. Who do I deem worthy enough to share my cheesecakes with? My hubby is so out, but mainly because he hates cheesecake. The same goes for my kids, though Leah is starting to change her tune. Co-workers maybe, but there are only a few of those that I like enough to give a slice to. If only my sis lived here, or even my bestie, they would appreciate the savory-ness of my cheesecake gift. Then comes the other problem, what if I choose instead to eat all of these cheesecakes myself? The saying “Being chubby is hard, but so is staying in shape, so choose your hard” rings through my ears but yet I sit here eating a slice of cheesecake as I write.

I was at a client’s house today, and as we were talking she was saying she has lived in our small town for only a few months. She struggled with the holidays because of Covid and all the holiday events being cancelled which brought loneliness of not knowing anyone, and not having a way of getting involved anywhere. I was able to relate with her due to going through a part of what she is dealing with when I first moved here. If you are not a social butterfly, moving to a new location where you don’t know anyone can be a struggle, then add in Covid and it makes it nearly impossible. But then you choose your hard. She chose to meet her neighbors, she engaged in conversations with her pet’s veterinarian and staff (me) and she realized that she had options. She could still go back to the town she moved from if things didn’t work out here or she could just keep moving forward here and when things start to open up more, get out and meet some people and get involved.

cheesecake on a white plate.
Three women laughing with each other

A friend of mine started working two jobs about 3 years ago. At first it was going well, both were part time jobs, she had some flexibility with both of them and her family life wasn’t suffering because of them. Then her circumstances changed, one of her jobs got busier (which is a good thing), which meant she was working more there. She kept the same hours with the second job, but started to see that she did not have a whole lot of free time. Then her family life started to suffer, though slightly it was still something she noticed and knew she had to fix the situation. She had to choose her hard, keep working both jobs and loose family time or move to one job and have more time with the family. Luckily her and her husband worked hard this past year to pay down their bills, so the decision to leave her second job to go full time at her first job was a no brainer. She would be able to work still in a profession she loves but have the freedoms to be with her family more.

Sometimes choosing your hard is easy, other times not so much. With all the uncertainty in the world it would be easier to sit at home, covered in a blanket and do something productive like eating a slice of cheesecake. I think that is choosing the easy way out. You have to work hard to succeed. Whether that’s scheduling a morning walk into your routine, or going through your cupboards to get rid of all the snack foods. If the reason is important enough to you, you’ll find a way to do the “hard” you are up against. Don’t have the tunnel vision, unless you are visiting Yosemite, look ahead and plan for what could be if you start working on your “hard” now. Until next time:

Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard. Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard. Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard. Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard. Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard.

Pondered Them In Her Heart

The heart of a woman

This last week we celebrated Christmas. It was a time of reflection, a time of praising God and a time to get together with family to enjoy each other’s company and good food. When the month of December started I challenged my two girls to read the book of Luke with me. It wasn’t an easy task for them because it meant reading a chapter a day, and some of the chapters were longer and harder to understand than others. What the goal was, was to read through the life of Christ from birth till death so that the joy of Christmas could be fully felt. What I didn’t realize would happen with me was that I got stuck on chapter 2. I read through the whole book and was able to talk over the chapters with my girls but it was chapter 2 that I kept going back to.

In my previous blog I Dare You To I wrote about Mary, Jesus’ mom. She was young a virgin and betroth to a carpenter in the town of Nazarene. She was also the one the God called to be the mom of Jesus. She was to be the one that would give birth, change His diapers, nurse Him and watch Him grow into a man of God. First He had to learn to be a boy and to do as His parents told Him to do. Mary was the first official mom to deal with the stress of being a good mother, not that God needed her to be a perfect mom, but I am sure the pressure to be the best mom she could be was real. Mary also got to feel the kicks to her bladder that her baby made while in her womb, and other than God she is the closest person Jesus would know as a human since He was closest to her heart while in the womb. When it was time for Jesus to be born, Joseph and Mary had travelled a long way to just be counted in a census. Mary was in her third trimester when they started the journey and gave birth while still in the town of David waiting to be counted. If you are a mom you know, when it is time to give birth you want to be as comfortable as you can be and you want your baby to be born healthy and happy without complications. I can’t imagine Mary being that comfortable in a dirty stable full of straw that probably poked and pricked at her as she layed down. Poor Joseph had to be as strong and in control as he could be as a new dad, because he was probably the only one there to help Mary with the birthing process. Nowhere in the story does it say that they complained about their surroundings, or that they were hungry or about Mary’s pain. Chapter two points more to the fact that out of love they held on to each other, helped each other and gave Jesus as a new baby a warm safe place to lie His head.

This is where Mary’s heart comes into play. While they were taking care of all that had to be taken care after Jesus’ birth, God was doing His thing. All I can think of is the proud papa that makes everyone look at His new child, except this was on a celestial level and it was sharing the joy with shepherds. Imagine bedding down for the night, the sheep are making their noises in the distance. While the sheep start to sleep the group of shepherds that took the night shift got ready to get to work, leaning on their shepherds staffs. Then as all seems to grow silent a bright light comes from heaven and the whole night sky is like day but instead of just light now there are angels all around singing praises to the newborn King. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would be able to keep my senses about me, but these shepherds did. They were told of the birth and that they should go seek out this newborn babe. When they found Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus they praised the Lord while Mary pondered these things in her heart.

Mary so humble and so mild became the mother of the Savior of the world, and yet she stayed humble and mild. She didn’t boast about who she was and how she became the chosen one. Instead two times in the book of Luke chapter 2 it is told how when something miraculous happened she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”. The first time was when the shepherds found their Son lying in the manger and the second time was when she and Joseph thought they lost Him in Jerusalem and when they did find him at the synagogue teaching the found He was the one teaching the teachers. Never once in the story of Jesus did Mary ever get elevated to the “great mother of Jesus”. Instead after chapter two it seems she somewhat fades from the story. She goes on to live her life as a carpenter’s wife is a small town. She wasn’t ever given statues to elevate her status, she was poor, and had other children with Joseph. We are left to believe she lived a God fearing humble life.

Jesus came from humble beginnings. He was never rich, never forced His power and He showed others what it meant to have a humble strength. Mary taught Him as a child in her home to respect His parents, learn the ways of Abraham and to work hard and respect His elders. Mary turned out to be the very best mom for Him. I am a momma of three kids. I am blessed for sure. The pressures are real though and to see and hear what my kids go through is hard but I couldn’t imagine knowing that one of my kids would be the sacrifice for all mankind and still remain sane. The one thing I can say I have copied from Mary is pondering things in my heart that have happened because of my kids or that my kids have done. I find great joy in my kids, I know I am just a small part in the way they will turn out, and yet daily I am amazed at what they accomplish and how they seem to be there for each other and those around them. Finding joy anywhere these days can be hard especially if you are not grounded in something. Our pastor yesterday challenged the congregation to open their Bibles daily and read. In all things that are happening in the world, the Bible has the answers on how to face them, overcome them and find joy in the moment. Mary found joy in the moment and she kept that joy close to her heart to ponder on daily. The challenge is there, find your joy, find it by reading the Bible, find it by trying, but start by looking. Until next time:

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying in which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled and those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.   Luke 2:16:19

Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.  So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us?  Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously".  And He said to them, "Why did you see Me?  Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"  But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.  Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

Merry Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and cinnamon rolls needed to be made. I have my mother-in-laws recipe and try as I may over the last 18 years I have yet to perfect the gooiness of the recipe. Into the fridge they go to rise and the hope that the quadruple batch of goo is enough. The excitement is in the air as the kids anticipate the un-wrapping of gifts but first it’s the candlelight service to remind us of the true reason for the season.

To say I was able to sit down and write over the last couple of days would be silly. I wanted to on Wednesday but instead was there for a patient in need. Yesterday being Christmas Eve, the day started off with heading to work to find out my friend/boss made up the whole day and surprised her staff with a Christmas party that had games, food and ended with prizes and an awesome embroidered work jacket. There is something about the Christmas season that is so special to me. Growing up we would get together as a family at grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. All the aunts, uncles and cousins would show up with food for the potluck. Aunt Betty’s fudge was amazing and smell of the turkey could be smelled all through the house. My cousin Leah and I would play with the slinky down the steps following close behind sliding down on our butts. Three long tables were set up in her “back room” and we would all cram around to eat on our favorite foods. Stories were told and laughter was loud. We would end our day together around the Christmas tree opening presents.

Over years the get together at grandma’s would get smaller with kids going to college and family units spitting but the love was always still there. Even when I went to college in northern Cali I would make sure to get back down to South Cali for Christmas so that I could surround myself with the love the was there. Christmas is always about the church services too. It was a way to rejoice and sing about what happened on that day so long ago. The story of Christ’s birth is so amazing to me. A young couple having to travel so far from home just to be counted by a harsh ruler that wanted to tax them more. The young woman so pregnant she probably couldn’t see her feet much less use them properly from them being so swollen. The way in which they traveled was not in luxury. Though I am sure the donkey tried, I couldn’t imagine the amount of blankets needed to cushion the ride. Mary and Joseph rose to the occasion, went on a journey, Mary gave birth in a barn (with only her husband to help), and still trusted that God was in control. Now picture the lowliest of people being the main witnesses to the miracle. During that time shepherds were not highly regarded. They slept with the sheep, didn’t shower much and probably didn’t talk to people hardly at all. These were the people the God chose to witness Christ’s birth. The shepherds, followed the star and saw the Savior, from that moment on a tradition was started. God chose to be with humble, he chose to show himself to the meek, and the not so powerful. He himself came from humble beginnings, learning to be a carpenter. Even when He should have shown His power and might He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey rather than a stallion.

Christmas morning brought cinnamon rolls that probably could of had another quadruple amount of gooiness, if my hubby had his way. It brought with it Tyler running into my room so excited to see what was under the tree, while the girls tried their hardest to get just a little more sleep. Before presents could be opened the pictures had to be taken and Tyler insisted on being the one to read the story of Christ’s birth to the family. Santa had come during the night and managed to bypass the sleeping child who snuck out of his room at some point to sleep on the couch. The stockings were filled, and Santa filled his belly once more. This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs, it hasn’t been easy, but when you know that you are not the one in control and that the one that is knows your struggles there is so much hope and joy. I know Christmas doesn’t mean the same to everyone, but for me it is where my joy starts and it flows from there. Living Joyfully is my way of remembering and encouraging the joy that is within so that I can send it out to share with others. With Christmas already here instead of wishing you a merry one, I will say go and find your joy. If you need a place to start or a person to show you the way, look at the book of Luke in the Bible and read chapters 1-24. Find your peace there, find joy and love too. Until next time:

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of t he Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you:  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager.
Luke 2:4-12

I Dare You To

I double dog dare you is the school yard taunt that makes the most rational kid do something they wouldn’t normally do, just to prove they aren’t afraid to do it. Even in the Christmas Story the triple dog dare that caused Flink’s tongue to get stuck to the flagpole was all because Flink didn’t want to look like a coward. To say “I Dare You” to someone causes this itch inside of them to prove you wrong that they can do what you dared them to do. If done the right way this could actually be a good thing, like the time I dared my son to clean his room faster than I could fold and put away the mountain of laundry I had on my bed. We turned on some lively music, playfully taunted each other as we worked and eventually got the chores done all the while having fun competing with each other, not to mention the winner got to get some ice cream.

Just recently a song came out from the band Mercy Me called “Say I Won’t”. In some versions of the song videos show different challenges that people overcame that they were told they never could. In a way they had been challenged by those around them to fail and they took it upo themeselves to proves the naysayers wrong. It is a song that was written to encourage perserverance and the willingness to push past the obstacles that were put before them.

As we look forward to Christmas this week, we can look to the obstacles that were placed in front of a young woman and her soon to be husband as they go forward as a couple with a very special miracle placed in their care. Picture a young woman, getting ready to be married to a young man. In the time frame she grew up in her main job as a married woman was to take care of the home and the children she will have. Her husband took care of taking care of the family by providing for them and being the spiritual leader in the home. This young lady had her world turned upside down when an angel came to her and said:

Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you amoung women!....Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  An behold, you will concieve in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus"
Luke 1: 28-31

I dare anyone to not be amazed by this, especially if they could picture this happening to them and responding the way Mary did by basically saying “your will be done Lord” This right here is one of the most miraculous miracles ever to be and every day we can live as if this miracle alone has changed the type of person we are. Just as in the song from Mercy Me, people were changed by circumstances that were sometimes out of their control, but because of those circumstances they overcame. They said “Say I Won’t” to the naysayers and then they did. Just as Mary had to go on with her life and the naysayers of her time to bring forth the Savior of the World, she did knowing that God was in control.

At the begining of December I was challenged to read through the book of Luke, a chapter a day for the month of December. It started with the birth of Christ and will end with His death and reserection days after Christmas is over. I took on this challenge for a few reasons, for one it gets me back in line with the One who is in control, two I was able to challenge my daughters to do it with me and be able to talk with them daily about what they learned, and third it helps me to remember the true reason for this season.

I love to dare people to do things when I know it will be beneficial for them. So you won’t see me daring one of my kids to stick their tongue to a flagpole during a freeze spell any time soon. But I have no problem daring someone to stop smoking. I wil dare someone to run a race with me. I will dare my kids to do something faster than me to show them they can do it. I will dare my husband to clean off the hope chest in our room by a certain date to help him get the gun he really wants. I will dare a coworker to dream big and go back to college to get her vet tech degree. I will dare a grieving mother to spred her son’s love by sending homemade cards to random people she knows, just because I know it will help her grieve better. I will dare my kids to be nice to each other. I will do all of these dares because I know in every one of these situations I will be there to do them with the person.

Sometimes people just need to know there is someone in their corner cheering them on and challenging them to do better. When I accepted Christ into my life many years ago, I gained that person. From that point on I didn’t have to rely on any one but Him and when He did put someone in my life to challenge me I knew it was out of HIs love for me that He did it. The world we live in is very challenging, it is scary and can be hard to comprehend. When we start to see that it is out of our control and is totally in His control we are able to find the joy and peace that comes with that knowlege. So though the month of December is almost over, I dare you to take a look at the gospel of Luke and read about Jesus’ story. I dare you to keep an open mind and heart as you do it, and find a way after to love someone the way Christ did and still does. Until next time enjoy the words from Mercy Me’s new song:

“Say I Won’t”

Today it all begins
I’m seeing my life for the very first time
Through a different lens
Yesterday
I didn’t understand
Driving 35 with the rocket inside
Didn’t know what I had

While I’ve been waiting to live
My life’s been waiting on me

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
The world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t

Not enough
Is what I’ve been told
But it must be a lie
Cause the Spirit inside says I’m so much more
So let them say what they want
Oh I dare them to try

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
The world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say I won’t

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
So keep on saying I won’t
And I’ll keep proving you wrong

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
This world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say that I won’t
Oh say I won’t
Say I won’t

Just Keep Waiting

Oh my goodness….

My waiting started Friday, it was ok for Saturday and Sunday was a normal stay at home kind of day. Monday came and I was able to work from home which made waiting doable, until the unthinkable happened. Though I love hearing from this wonderful person, she called me Monday morning to tell me a beautiful soul went to be with the Lord. At that moment, nothing else mattered, the waiting didn’t matter, the working from home didn’t matter, the fact that I had just complained about being cold didn’t matter. What mattered was that my good friend (who is like a mom to me, in fact I call her momma Mary) and her family were mourning the loss of their son.

I can’t tell you when I first met David, Mary’s son only because he was part of the momma Mary package. I moved to this little town 18 years ago and have known Mary and David for 16 of those years. David accepted me as his sister from day one. Over the years David had his ups and downs with different illnesses he has had to endure, but they never seemed to stop his smile from shining through. David’s life wasn’t easy for him, and Mary and her husband Len gained quite a few grey hairs from the adventures he decided to go on, but that is what is important, he lived his life. I wanted to highlight David because he lived joyfully. He knew the Lord, he smiled often and he loved big. I can’t tell you how many times I felt my ribs would break because of how hard he hugged, but I wouldn’t trade those hugs for anything. He had a caring heart, he pushed through his struggles and made a name for himself doing photography and just recently publishing his first book Relic Power So It Begins. How often did I choose not to do something because it would be hard? I wish I could tell you it wasn’t often, but I would be lying.

When I look over the past years of knowing David he was courageous in what he chose to do. He pursued his passions and didn’t let people tell him he couldn’t do it. I want to be like him and I will work to do so. While waiting is not easy to do, especially when you are waiting on a test that will tell you if you have a virus and you don’t feel sick at all it is while in waiting that big things can happen. In the last few days of waiting I have been able to get stuff done around the house, though it doesn’t sound spectacular the things that were accomplished were on a “to do list” for a while. I was able to have good conversations with my kids and better understand what this “waiting” has done to them. I have been able to look at my normal routines and see that a change needs to be made. It has made me sit down at my computer to write out my needs, wants and future goals are. This waiting has also enabled me to sit, to read, to enjoy the normal hustle and bustle of family life at home. I am able to see what is important and plan for ways to keep what is important in the forefront of my life instead of on the back burner where it usually ends up.

To really live is a choice. To live Joyfully is a tougher choice. To have joy (not just happiness) means that through good times and bad you find your peace in what you believe. I believe that God cares for me and for those around me, I don’t live a perfect life, and there are things I still hold close that I don’t talk about with anyone other than God. Over the years my hubby and I made the choice to live our lives to the best our abilities. We have gone on trips, we have surprised our kids with even bigger trips, and we have done things (like skydiving) that most parents wait to do until their kids are grown. I have tried business ventures that have been successful and others that haven’t be quite as much. We as a family have taken chances and have set goals that we have met.

David touched a lot of lives with his smile, his charm, his ability to put others before himself and for that I am grateful. He made people better and want to be better. I am glad that I called him my brother and that he blessed my life, I hope that I can remember to smile like he did and hug like he did (when we can hug again). I am still waiting, waiting to hear the results of my test, but I will chose to enjoy the moments I have while waiting because I will be busy soon enough. Until next time:

Life is a game, play it; Life is a challenge, Meet it; Life is an opportunity, Capture it. ~ Unknown.

The Future is Yours

It is what you make it

Change isn’t always easy and most of us know that. We get comfortable in our surroundings and we justify to ourselves how we can stay where we are because it “really isn’t that bad”. But what we are really doing is making excuses for not wanting to do the hard thing of moving forward into the inevitable change. When 2020 started we were comfortable with what we had going on for the most part. We had just gotten through the holidays, our New Year’s resolutions were still fresh in our minds, and the stores were already gearing up for the Valentine’s holiday. It was all routine. Then we start hearing about this weird illness that had spread through China and from there our lives changed.

Fast forward to the present: the second week of December. Our lives are still changed, most of us are wearing masks, the restaurants are back to take out only, people are adjusting and we are still moving forward. Change has a way of making or breaking us, it’s how we choose to deal with what we are given. one of the things I love to do is read, I can spend all day curled up with a book and have tried a couple of times to do it but my family tends to want my attention. One of the books I read dealt with this guy who had a lot of money, a big family and he knew lots of important people. He was one of those guys that everyone liked and seemed to succeed in all that he did. What was most significant about his guy was how he responded when something bad happened. First it was his son not wanting to follow in his footsteps and go into the family business, then his daughter decided to move across the country to pursue her dream of being an artist, to finally having a cancer scare with his wife. Though these events didn’t all happen at the same time, they were close enough to cause the toughest to break. This guy, though not perfect leaned not on himself but instead on his faith and gained strength from his family and friends. He could have easily fallen into pit of self destruction, but saw that all that was in front of him was out of his hands.

Even when the change we face is something we want and will benefit us, there is still that fear that resides in the back of our brains that says, ,maybe just maybe we should stay where we are at because it’s safe. Growth doesn’t happen where it’s safe though, it takes risk, and determination, and the will to make something better. So as I sit here and think about the last three weeks of 2020, I know 2021 will bring a lot of new experiences, new challenges and even risks, but I know they will be the things that strengthen my faith, and my family. I look back at what 2020 gave us and see that even though it was with some kicking and screaming I was strengthened by all the craziness that happened. I know others were as well. It’s what change does, it changes us. So how do we deal with it? That is what will show our true colors. Until next time:

Love where you are at, because at the moment it is the most important place you can be

What Do I Know

I know what I know

I couple of months ago I did a list of things I know for sure, life has been going so fast in these last two months I haven’t been able to do another one till now. It’s a perfect time to do it as the Christmas music is playing, the kids are painting and creating and the hubs is helping with decorating the house for the season. The house is warm and cozy and now smells like a fresh cut tree, the baking started today and I had a great afternoon nap. The timing is perfect so here it goes:

  • There is something about Christmas music that makes me happy
  • Cold nights are perfect for snuggling close to the hubby even though the dog is persistent in getting in between us.
  • When the water cup next to the bathroom sink is not full enough for the cat to drink from she will let you know about it, loudly, doesn’t matter the time of night.
  • Sometimes as a parent you have to step back and let your kids try new things….cue the black eyeliner and Five Nights at Freddy’s
  • Even when your kids act tough and that things don’t matter, when you take the time to talk with them, they’ll talk with you
  • Being scared out of your mind for your family is hard, trusting that God is in control is harder but worth it
  • Hauling a Christmas tree out of the woods through brush that is over your head makes the snow that is on that brush go down your shirt, not fun
  • When your sister calls you you call her back, no matter what, even to find out she butt dialed you
  • Letting your brain turn on in the middle of the night over something you can’t change at that moment is the perfect time to start praying.
  • Even though you may not like the video games your son plays, when he plays them with his dad it makes it all ok
  • Not being a perfectionist when your daughter wants to put the lights up on the tree is the best thing you can do.
  • Waiting for your chocolate covered cheesecake bits to freeze so that you can pop them out of the trays is really hard to do.
  • It’s really hard to hear your child talk about something that you yourself may not fully believe but you have to let them learn and grow on their own and guide as best you can
  • You know it is Christmas when you walk into stores at Halloween time and smell the pinecones infused with cinnamon
  • It is always fun to make some hot cocoa put it in travel mugs for the family and go search for Christmas lights.
  • When you work at a vet office the Christmas season is the worst time to try and loose weight.
  • See’s candy is by far the best candy
  • Doing a Ugly Sweater Run with your family is a fun thing to do especially if afterwards you have to stop at different picture spots around town to take pictures and post on Facebook for prizes
  • Covid-19 might put a hitch in the holiday festivities but keeping your cool, finding a fun festive mask to wear and knowing you are doing your part to keep the numbers low is important
  • Getting out in the cold to exercise makes your body work harder, first to keep up with the exercise you are doing but also to warm you up afterwards thus burning more calories.
  • I have realized that a few years the minimum low temp of 12 degrees would be the lowest I would allow for exercising outside, now if it is below 32 degrees I am crawling back in bed with the excuse it’s too cold outside.
  • It’s always a good idea to smile at someone
  • When the season gets the better of you, step back and remember the true reason for celebrating the holiday and know that Jesus would want you to rest rather than stress
  • Candlelight services are my favorite services and I can’t help not crying

Once again I could keep going and going, because I really do love just sitting here and writing out what I know. So what do you know to be true? Does this season cause you to seek rest or do you find yourself so stressed you don’t know where to look? Is there a favorite part of this season you have? I would love to hear what you know for sure. Shoot me a comment, and know I love to hear from you. Until next time:

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;  And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

Dreams

That was the weirdest dream ever

Do you ever have those dreams were you kick your feet out and you feel like you are falling? Do you ever have ones were someone is chasing you? I don’t know if it was the turkey on thanks giving but I had a double whammy dream where I was falling but then was also being chased by a guy with a knife in a local plumbing store we have in town. No one seemed to want to help me but it ended well with me seeing what my dream house would look like. Man, I really think I need to lay off the wine coolers before bed. Dreams can be glorious to so scary you wake up in a sweat. Over the years there have been many people who have tried to interpret what dreams mean, but in the end there are so many theories it’s hard to say.

The types of dreams that have been keeping me up at night and making my head spin are the ones about the future. They are the ones that hold promise and make you want to write them all down and start planning them. When I was working as a Children’s Director at a church my partner and I would have some pretty awesome ideas for events and fundraisers. We would start to plan them out but then they would consume our thoughts to the point that when blessed sleep was supposed to come, it would be hindered by all the ideas and plans that went into the planning we were doing. It would get to the point that if the ideas were not written down almost immediately there was no hope in any sleep coming. These are the best types of dreams, they are the ones that come true with hard work and dedication. Dreams are just ideas that are waiting to come to fruition. Over the years the different dreams that I have had for myself and my family have changed, some have been forgotten, and others were just not very realistic and so they were dismissed. I love that I still dream though, I have not allowed what is going on around me to hinder my ability to see that there is still so much hope for the future.

Dreams have a way of taking over the moment. They can only be pushed to the back of your mind for so long before they pop to the front and stay until something is done. I am currently working on getting trained in Hospice and Palliative care for animals. It will be a rewarding job for sure but, it goes beyond the job and into what can be done for the clients and patients. I really love to figure out ways of doing things “outside the box” and I really love to dream big when it comes to all of the opportunities down the road. I know in my town there is a lack of support and knowledge for clients trying to deal with the health of their beloved pets and that is where I want to step in and guide them. This dream is big, it is scary, and it requires that I have good relationships with the veterinarians in this town. It requires the ability to be humble but confident. It means I will have to be patient and know that I will go through hard times with clients, but there will be victories too. It will mean putting my heart on my sleeve and going all in, and I think this scares me the most. I also know that when I really believe in something, it is hard to get me to sway from it. It is one of my positive faults. I pray daily that my dream is one that will work, and I am working hard to be as ready for it as I can be.

What dreams do you have? Do they keep you up at night? What is holding you back from achieving them? I really do believe that hard work and dedication can make dreams come true, but also deciding if a dream that you have had is realistic. You could have a dream of being the next best chef but if you burn water making noodles, that may not be realistic. You could dream of leaving your current job because you are bored with it but find that’s not realistic if what you are leaving will make life harder for you in the future, but if leaving your current job means that you are more at peace and happier than the future will work itself out. If your dream is to get out of debt, then it will require self control and saying no to having 50 different pairs of black shoes. They should inspire and make you want to take action. So I say don’t hold back, dream big, set goals and try. If you don’t succeed, you can walk away knowing you have learned something. Dreaming big doesn’t mean success, but it does mean you will grow, and I hope you do. Until next time:

If your dream is a big dream, and if you want your life to work on the high level that you say you do, there’s no way around doing the work it takes to get you there.

Joyce Chapman

Just Take A Deep Breath

I know you have been waiting

The surgery I was helping with just finished and our check in board was blinking wildly letting us know there were people and patients waiting on us. We have been doing “curb side service” for months now, and we have gotten to be pros at it, but that doesn’t mean we are fast. It still took time to finish what we are currently doing and gather the needed paperwork to go out to the people. In the beginning, when all of this was new to everyone, people seemed to have had more patience. They were more willing to accept that we were new at this too and having to adjust to bringing in our patients as well as get the pertinent information needed to tell the doctors what was wrong. Not to mention getting the correct phone number and memorizing what make, model and color their car was so that we could tell that to the doctors that as well. Over time we noticed that it was harder and harder for people to be willing to sit in their cars and wait. When I talked with my coworkers about it, we realized it had more to do with the fast instant gratification culture we live in rather than people’s true ability to wait.

This “phenomenon” isn’t really one at all. We as a whole have learned that we can have what we want almost instantly, and we find it truly odd when we are told we have to wait even a minute longer than what we were told. For some that makes them grumpy. Others find it to be almost a catastrophe that they went through, and then there are those who go with it and realize that things happen. These are my type of people. There are no absolutes in this world besides God and taxes. Throw in a virus that is making a life a little more difficult and stressful and we find that our fuses run short. When it comes to things being out of our control wouldn’t it be easier to realize this take a step back and breathe?

This last week I struggled with this, I wanted to just breathe but it felt like I didn’t even have a chance to do that. One day in particular had me going. Our schedule at work was a “steady busy” but two of my coworkers were not 100% in their ability to work. We had just finished our last procedure for the morning when I heard the doctor confirm with a client that we could indeed do “that surgery” today. She then looked at me apologetically and instructed me to go get as much of a lunch as I could. I decided to forgo my usual lunch of food and online education and instead went to take care of Benny. Benny is a hospital cat at another facility I work for. He is the type of cat that will be aloof until you sit down and then he practically demands your attention. I needed a breather and I needed to be “forced” to sit down. Benny accepted the challenge happily. As soon as I sat down he jumped up and expected to be pet. It was perfect. I was able to eat my lunch, relax and head back to work. That was my breather.

I got through that day and the next, to make it to a four day break from work. My plans were simple for the four days, do a deep clean of the house, re-position frames on my wall and add new photos, write the Christmas letter, make salsa, start doing the Christmas shopping, and finally if I have time get some computer work done. I managed to get 3-4 things done off my list, instead I went on walks with my hubby and Jorj, I turned on my electric blanket and curled up with a good book. I took the kids shopping for items they saved up to get, I pet my cat. I took a four day breather, and it was nice.

Mr. Rogers once said

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now

This goes for ourselves. We need to love who we are here and now. God did not make a mistake when he made each one of us. This quote reminds me that I am called to love my neighbor even when it’s hard, and we are going through struggles all the time. When we realize that we are all imperfect people we can see that we are all trying to get by. The joy that comes from within happens not because I am happy all the time, it’s because I know it’s not my job to fix people or what’s going on around me. It’s my job to trust God to do as he said he would do and to love others as He loves me, even when it’s hard. When I feel overwhelmed with life, I actively and purposely take a breather and remember that I am not alone. In these moments I turn over to God what I have been trying to take care of myself.

As I write this I am going into a 6 day work week. it’s something I have been doing for a while. It is stressful, but it is also rewarding because I know patients are being helped, clients will be smiled at, and fun will be had with my co-workers. I know that as I am at work, my kids are loved and cared for at home with my hubby, I will come home to a house filled with love, and whether things are good or bad I have a God I can trust and rely on. The joy that comes from these facts is like the breath that come from my lungs. Find your joy in the simple. Step back and take a breather, know that you are not in control, trust in the God who is. Until next time:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Hebrews 12:1-2

Out Of The Woodwork

You don’t know what you need until you receive it

This week has been a week of ups and downs, with the ups being more but the downs were hard hits. The week started out with the news that a doctor I work with is pregnant and this is such happy news. She and her husband are such great people and very compassionate. They are going to be fun and loving parents though their animals may not know what to do with the new little one, but they’ll learn. It went on to learning that a coworker lost her baby and had to decide whether she wants to try again later to have a family or decide that it may be too risky. What this gal needed more than just the hugs and tears she was getting from her friends and coworkers was a time to heal and a time to digest what has happened. As cliché as it sounds she needs time to heal and trust that if she and her husband want to try again that her doctors will work hard to monitor her, since they have a better idea of what went wrong this time, but it is not easy to do.

The end of the week was more about work than anything else, but you know that feeling when the you are so tired you feel it in your bones. You ignore it for the most part and put your head down and just keep working, but then something just comes out of nowhere and makes you stop and think. It was only Friday and the day was already busy before I was even awake. I had just gotten back from my walk with Jorj and my hubby and was getting ready to start my morning workout when I got a text from a friend that stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes. This gal is the type of person who speaks her mind and doesn’t beat around the bushes. She is loving and supportive and will put others before herself without question, but will drop you fast if you disrespect her or those she loves. She is a woman of integrity and someone I respect highly, so when she sent me a text to let me know that I mattered. That what I did each day meant something. She reminded me that I could rise up from any situation and that I could take the love I have from my family to move me forward. She let me know she had my back. I truly didn’t know I needed to hear these words, and somehow she knew she had to say these words to me. She had no idea that I was given bad news, she didn’t know that even though it was Friday my work week still had three more days until a set of days off. But that didn’t stop her from blessing me.

Everyday this week I came home to a warm meal and the sounds of laughter from my family. I am lucky for sure. My 18 year wedding anniversary is today and I will be at work, and that is ok. Without my knowledge my wonderful hubby tried to set up a little weekend get away. The only reason I was brought in on the plans was the fact that he was having a hard time securing an AirBnb. The fact that he had thought of this made tears burn the back of my eyes. Not that he is not thoughtful, it’s just been so busy I didn’t think we would be able to do more than just a dinner date. Luckily a friend of ours offered her family’s cabin so we could have that time for each other. Yesterday we celebrated my middle daughter’s birthday. Covid-19 prevented us from doing our normal get together with friends but we still made the day special for her by getting the free birthday drink from Dutch Bros. We moved her room around like she wanted and to top it off my eldest daughter and I spent most of the morning making a special cake for her. All the things we did were not necessarily amazing but they made her happy, they made her feel special.

I say all these things because life is always going to be hard. No one said it would be easy. That doesn’t mean we can’t think of others. A devotion I read once talked about how the things we tend to not like about other people often are the same things we don’t like about ourselves. If we work to change ourselves, and we give over to God what we can’t change then we will start to get a new perspective and sometimes the changes we made to ourselves will also change in others, especially if we are close to those people. The only thing we are in control of is ourselves and sometimes even then it takes an act of God to make a change. This doesn’t mean we can’t work at making someone else smile for a bit. We can encourage people with our words and actions. When we bless others we will get blessings in return. My very good friend reminded me that prayer journals work. Write down your prayers good or bad. Watch and you will see that you’ll start crossing those prayers off when they are answered. Come out of the woodworks and be a light for someone. The only thing that can rid the dark is light. Don’t hide your light, shine bright each day and you will find that not only are they brighter but you’ll sparkle. Until next time:

There is never a reason to worry that someone will outshine us. It’s not a competition. We all need to shine the brightest we can in our own unique way. It’s not possible for there to be to much light in this world. Shine……..and let shine

Shut Down Round Two

Two weeks or longer?

Yesterday I went to work, it was an ordinary day, busy in the morning with procedures (spays, dentals etc.) and the afternoon will filled with with appointments. We were short one person and my coworker received some really bad news so we were watching her like a hawk to make sure if she needed to leave she could. There were phone calls made, and clients giving me their life stories as I stand in the rain for them to hand me their precious Fluffy who needs a nail trim. Basically your typical day in the life of a veterinary professional. The news of the day was that today we as a state would be shut down again because our Covid-19 numbers were getting too high and we needed to get the curves down again. So we went through our day with the worries of what today would bring. To be honest I know we are some of the lucky ones that get to stay open because the importance of keeping our pets healthy was seen as a reason to make us essential workers. For that I am thankful but I know what stress may be coming our way, and so I do my job and help the pets and I pray and try not to worry.

Today started out like most of my days, an early morning walk with the love of my life and my dog Jorj. It was a brisk walk to say the least and we went a way we haven’t gone in a while, you know to change it up a bit. Mistake! So normally on our walks we keep an eye out for loose dogs who may want to come after Jorj (it has happened to poor Jorj before), and normally we don’t see much of anything. Well today as we passed by this really pretty calico cat, she decided she would be the one, the one who finally got to Jorj. Let me tell you, she was persistent. We literally had to shove her away with our legs and even still she got to Jorj. We finally had to remove her from the situation almost getting bit ourselves, just to come head on with a herd of deer. I mean mommas and foals and even the buck, they stared us down like we were the devil. I was ready for the walk to be over, to be honest I wouldn’t have been surprised if a skunk jumped out to join the party. I went into pray mode again, praying that this wasn’t foretelling how the day was going to go.

With today being day one of the second round of shut downs because of Covid-19, I was expecting that it would be like the first round. I was wrong. It was like nothing changed. I went to work like normal, we still wore our masks, we still went out to get our patients from the cars, and we were still busy. The difference was that this time there wasn’t a panic in people’s voices, there was still toilet paper on the shelves, and businesses had a chance to make changes before the shutdown that made it so they could still work. I am sad that with it being my hubby’s birthday we didn’t invite friends over like normal but we still had his birthday dinner, cake and presents. We took the limitations given to us and we made them work. At this moment we are all at home, enjoying each other’s company, Covid-19 will be around for a while, so we take what we can do and we do it joyfully.

This is not so easy to do, to be honest if I were to sit here and really think about it I would start stressing and worrying instead of praying and finding the good in the situations. So it has become a choice for me to pray instead of worry, and find the good in the situations I am in. So with today, I actually had to giggle at the fact that this cat really thought she could go through with her plans of taking a chunk out of Jorj, I got to really see how pretty a small herd of deer could be and I could thank God that they didn’t see us as a threat. I got to work with some pretty awesome people, and see some really great clients and pets. The team I work with got a sweet treat from an equally sweet friend who just wanted to say thanks for what we do and that she loves us. I got to appreciate once again the power a cat had when she really doesn’t want to be held for a procedure, and use the tool of a radiograph to count unborn puppies.

I was able to celebrate with my hubby his 40+ birthday today and make him feel special with a yummy cake and gifts from the kids and I. I get to sit here and write while my son and hubby play games and the girls read and create. So yes, all around me there are so many things that can cause me to hide in a hole somewhere but if I let those things take over I would miss out on the joy around me. Being happy is one thing but to have joy, means you are at peace deep down, you are certain of who you are, and you know at the end of the day the only thing you can control is how you react to the things around you. I love being in control of some things, but I love even more knowing that I don’t have to be in control of all things, that is God’s job, and I for one am not about to take that away from Him. So where are you? How are you doing during these times? Are you stressed? Do you have an outlet that will help you get away for a little bit, and find your peace again? Do you have someone to talk to? I pray that you have a chance to just be, to find your peace, and that you won’t let round two of this shut down, shut you down too. Until next time:

Go find your joy. Whatever that is, go find your joy. Are you going to have a good day or are you going to have a great day? Because it’s completely up to you.

Sandra Bullock

I’m bored

What do you expect me to do?

Sunday has come around again, it’s raining, we are doing a voluntary quarantine so that we can safely go to grandma and papa’s for Thanksgiving and we have opted as a family to have no electronics, so that we can do more as a family. Sometimes this works great other times we are breaking up fights and storming to rooms. With our world being so fast paced it is hard to see the whites of each other’s eyes. We do make it a point to sit down and eat dinners together which is great but right when we are all done everyone goes in their separate directions to get back to whatever has been going on with the devices.

Growing up we obviously didn’t have as many electronics to keep us busy. We had to find things to do or our parents would find stuff for us to do. I always knew that the words “I’m bored” should never come out of my mouth with my mom standing close by. Thirty plus years ago is way different than it is today, but only in certain aspects. I think back then we didn’t know of all the things going on in the world because we didn’t have instant access. We were willing to go find things to do because we didn’t want to be dragged into helping mom mop the floors, or mow the lawn. So we would go and knock on neighbor’s doors that we knew had kids and we would ask if they could play. We would take out our bikes and ride “just up the road” and get back home hours later, we would take out the scrap wood and create some new toy with it, it seems that back then we were so intent on not being bored that we worked hard at finding ways around it.

Now that I have my own kids I am finding my hubby and I have to actually schedule in times where they may find themselves bored, just for the pure fact that in these times they actually get creative, they play and interact with each other, they take walks with the dog. They find things to do because they know getting on their devices in not an option and if they say they are bored too close to my ears I will find things for them to do that they may not like. I love to watch them play and interact. I love making sure they get bored so that they get active and creative. I never knew a few years ago that my oldest daughter paints and draws so well, I love that my middle daughter takes on challenges and creates solutions for them, and my little man gets his rollerblades out, even his skateboard at times and gets active. I love that during my “bored times” I can create and read and even get a nap in. I love that my hubby’s bored times gets new flooring put down and projects that have been rattling around in his head get done.

Somewhere along the line being bored was a negative thing, I would love to say here and now that it is far from negative. Our brains have gotten so complacent with the electronics in front of us and the day to day jobs and tasks that we have to get done that the simple things get lost in the mix. By being bored people are forced to find something to do, and hopefully the “somethings” they find to do are positive and cause them to stretch their imaginations. Over the past few months we have been forced more often than not into boredom, and I can say in some of those moments not so positive things have happened like eating a whole back of chips, or spending the day watching Facebook videos, but for the most part projects have been accomplished, crafts have been finished and new opportunities have been researched. Small trips have been done, and small gatherings have been planned. New games have been played and new hobbies have been started.

In the eyes of kids being bored is not the greatest thing to be, especially when they are being forced into it, and informing them that they have it better now than when I was a kid doesn’t help, and quite frankly they probably don’t believe me when I say it because I don’t believe it myself. I actually loved being a kid and the freedoms that I had. I strongly believe that my kids should have that same type of childhood it’s just a bit harder to give to them, but not impossible. So for all those mommas and dads too who hear “I am bored” on a constant basis, just remember there is a whole big world out there to explore with your kids. So take the dog on a walk in the rain, finally climb the tree in the back yard, pull out some material and some patterns and see what you can create, read a book together, pull out the Monopoly game, get a Uno game going and see how loud you get, find what you can do together and do it. That is what most kids want, to do something with mom and dad, treasure the times you have because it does go fast. If you find that you are the one saying “I’m bored” because of no kids all of the above still applies, except you probably would do it more with people your age and probably some wine, whatever it is you do, find time to be bored, it is worth it. Until next time:

“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”

Louis C.K.

Prey Animals

Survival of the fastest

Over the past few years I have noticed one big thing with me, I am a prey animal. I work in the animal field and though I would love to say it’s always wagging tails and kisses, it is not. I have tried and tried to reign in my fight or flight response especially since it is more flight than fight but I can’t seem to make it be less when a dog or cat lunges at me with really sharp teeth and claws. Try as I may, my adrenaline starts pumping and usually the reflex to jump ten feet back away from the danger is not the best thing to do, and according to some of the doctors I work with. It is actually showing that aggressive animal that they won. I could have told that animal they won from the moment it growled and showed me it’s large teeth and nails, but I regress, that is not apparently what I am to do. Prey animals don’t normally stay and fight, they usually see the danger and run. I am all for that but the doctors I work with don’t tend to be too happy when their holder disappears, so I stay and hold on for dear life.

I was able to think more on this today when it seemed a memo went out that it was aggressive animal day at the clinic. At least 5% of the animals we saw were aggressive in some way with one willing to bite if I looked at him funny. I am happy for the “happy hats” we used, the muzzles used calmed all but one patient that was looking at me funny too. Majority of my work is with a veterinarian that is very, very calm. She has a way with all animals but especially the scared and nervous variety. They tend to calm down better when she is in the room. I try and learn from her how to remain calm, but then I realized she has a gift. She has accepted that there will be scratches and bites, but she has also accepted that most of those scratches and bites come from animals that are scared and or nervous and need to be dealt with in a more calm and slow way. We are taught safe ways to hold animals for routine procedures. We are safe 99% of the time, but usually that 1% of animals all seem to team up and give us animal care workers a run for our money.

One pet in particular is this sweet, sweet boy, until you try and do anything with him. He was in our clinic to get some vaccines. Simple enough, except for the warnings that pop up on his records that tell us about his ability to bite quick without warning. So with a lot of petting and treats we placed the “happy hat” on and quickly gave him his vaccines. Once we were done, we were able to pet and love on him once more. We are lucky at times to get the warnings that pets try and give us, but sometimes there is no warning unless you are really watching and noticing the signs the animals give. Another animal I worked with was the cat that had been hospitalized for not eating well. I was trying to get a blood sample from him, which was going ok, but not fast enough for him. Right as I was finishing up, he got his paw loose and slapped me right on the hand. Instead of doing what I was supposed to do and keep my hand relatively in the same spot, I pulled my hand back thus creating a bigger scratch from the claw that had dug in. Same sort of thing happened when a really sick dog decided to take a chunk from my finger, I have been told I am to leave my hand in his mouth instead of pull away but that darn flight response kicks in and the next thing I know my fingernail is split and I am nursing a bigger wound on my hand. I know these things can happen in the animal field and luckily they happen few and far between, because we have been trained to look for the signs and our restraint techniques are practiced often, but as the recipient of my share of wounds I will say I wish I didn’t flee so much.

This then got me thinking how many times in my personal life have I decided to take flight instead of stand my ground? I know that as I have gotten older I have come to realize that it is easier and easier to say what I want, but I still don’t like conflict and stress. My flight response has dimmed over time and I have learned to stick it out and see what happens. What this has gotten me is a boost in my confidence. I am more willing to try new things, I love a challenge now and I love to get people to go along with me. New opportunities have come my way and I can walk away from situations knowing I did my best, and that right there is alright with me. Until next time:

Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise

The choice is yours

Lazy Mornings

Do I really have to get up?

I know it’s morning because the furnace is turning on to heat the house to a balmy 65 degrees. I know that I need to get up but the alarm has been purposely been turned off this morning because other than obligations later this afternoon I have no other reason to get up. So I roll over and go back to sleep as my foot warmer Jorj gets comfortable again digging his elbows into the side of my foot. I know that I have fallen asleep for a little while longer because when I do decide to fully wake up my loving husband tells me I sound like a motorcycle revving my engines when I snore. I don’t care much though because I am still in bed and there is no one asking me to do anything, and it is wonderful……for a little bit and then I start to get bored. I mean really, I don’t understand just sitting or laying still for a long time, I try and try to talk myself into staying away from the now waking up rest of the house but I can’t. So I get up get my Spark made, take my vitamins and give the ever present pep talk to my mirror image about enjoying my day to the fullest.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

My house is not a quiet house in the least. It is full of active, talkative people. My son is 9 years old and loves his momma, Fortnite and candy. Every morning I get a hug from him but this morning on top of the hug I got into a conversation with him about mud. We were talking about having to get some snow boots because God decided to grace us with a mild snow fall. Tyler’s boots have mud on them, for no other reason than he is a boy and the mud was calling to him to walk through. So as we talked about mud, we were also simultaneously talking about the new microwave, the house falling down if the microwave wasn’t attached properly, if I would rather die or eat only butter for a 6 days, and about what we are getting his dad and sister for their upcoming birthdays. I should have thought a little harder about staying in bed. My daughters are a little less talkative in the morning but not by much. Tabby found out that her Amazon wish list was given to her aunt and grandparents which got her thinking and worrying about her cousins seeing the list because it has some animae characters on the list that are weird looking. She then asked why her dad would compare her schooling with his schooling, since she is in high school and he is in collage? While this conversation is going on her brother is attacking one of his teddy bears by jumping from the couch on top of the bear. I really should have thought about staying in bed.

As Tyler decides to go play outside in the 2 inches of snow, the house once again starts to get calm and quiet. My Spark is starting to set in, my brain has been forced into waking up so I am now ready for the day with nothing to do. Bliss! Lazy mornings are few and far between, and most of the time they have to be scheduled into a calendar just for them to happen. I am glad that it is just a lazy morning though, I don’t know if a full day would be something I could do. Do you ever have that? Where you get to a point of not wanting to just be “lazy”? There are so many things to do in a day, and so though my morning started off slow and “relaxing” I can’t wait for the day to get going. I love the first snowfall, it doesn’t seem to last but it is the door opening to the best times of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am not fond of the cold, but the silence that comes with snow is peaceful. The snow even a little covers the dead leaves of fall and moves us into a time of new beginnings. November and December are literally the only two months that I bake. I love to get out the recipes and start baking all of the holiday treats. Snow reminds me that we will be seeing family again soon for the holidays. It means that we will get to have decorations put up, and the ever present smells of cinnamon and pine needles will welcome us home each time we leave.

Photo by Alex Kozlov on Pexels.com

My lazy morning turned into winter clothes shopping with the kids and finally getting the outside of the house prepped and ready for the upcoming snow storms that are bound to happen. The Jorj dog got walked and even the floors got swept and mopped (thanks Leah). This day turned into a day of productivity and time with the family. The lazy morning got the day started off right, and it will end with a lazy evening with a bowl of chicken dumpling soup and a good book while snuggled into my blanket. Who says slowing down even for a little bit is bad? Not me, that is for sure. Taking the time to just be when the rest of your life is go, go, go is probably the best thing you can do for yourself, so even if you have to plan a lazy morning in your calendar, plan it and enjoy! Until next time:

In today’s rush, we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just being

Eckhart Tolle

Is Kindness A Thing?

Judge slow, love quick

Two days ago was Election Day, which means yesterday we woke up with a new president, this is either a big thing to people or not. I pray that before people decide to do something rash though they will take a step back and realize once the decision is made it most likely will not be undone. This is not a post about politics though, I personally don’t put too much time and effort into thinking about the subject probably because it is a subject that is talked about too much as it is. So whether your person wins or loses I think we as a nation should stop getting our panties in a bundle, instead we should look at the bigger picture and see our country needs more kindness and humility and yes even love. We have made hate ordinary. We are quick to see the differences in people and instead of embracing them we judge them. We have lost our ability to communicate with people. We may enter into discussions with others but once they start to disagree with what we have to say we start to shut down. I don’t know about you but my views from five years ago are not the same as they are today, so how to we expect people to embrace what we have to say if your views can be so fickle?

A few months ago I did a blog called Oh To Be Like My Pets, in which I talked about how our pets are superhero’s. I talked about how I wish we could be more like or pets, they seem to always take the higher road and they are more than happy to listen to everything you have to say. One of my main points was that pets don’t care if you are black, white, brow, Republican, Democrat, boy or girl. They see us as theirs and love us that way. Imagine if we were to take our cues from our pets? Each morning we wake up with the excitement of the new day. They stop and listen when our person talks and have this way about them where they know before their human does that they need to draw near. I think if we as humans could see outside of our bubbles we have created for ourselves we would see there are more ways to be kind that to spread hatred and hurt.

A client came in today to bring her dog in for another surgery to “debulk” a mass that is cancerous and is slowly getting bigger. She was in a hurry this more and was a little perturbed that she had to wait and that she had to fill out surgery paperwork again. When I had gone out to talk with her about her options before surgery she let me know how upset she was and that she was super busy today and needed to get going for a meeting. She had indicated that she wasn’t in the right state of mind to make decisions. Normally for me this would have gotten me a bit worked up because I was just doing my job, but since I knew this really wasn’t about me, I was able to take a different approach with her. For O’Neill recognized that this lady loves her dog. Her dog has cancer and so that adds to the stress. This is about the forth time we have had to do this type of surgery and so the questions seemed repetitive to her. She had been in a hurry this morning and had seen other clients come and go before she was taken care of so she was irritated, and finally she didn’t understand why she couldn’t fill the paperwork out before the day of surgery so that she could just drop off and go.

As I listened I could see her frustrations and where the stress level was so I offered to call her after her meeting so that she could be in a better state of mind to make decisions, I informed her that we would call her right when we were done so that she could rest easy and lastly I let her know that when we have to do this procedure again we would have no problem giving her the paperwork in advance, she just needed to let us know that is was she would like. One of the things I have noticed that stops us from being kind to people and actually listening to them is the fact that we think it is all about us. If the person doesn’t agree with us, then they don’t like us. If a person is upset and they are talking to us about it, it may just be that they are upset about a situation not you. We have to get out of our mindsets that everything is about us.

As I write this I am convicted myself. I think that I am a nice person, and patient as well, but when I start to hear the dialog in my head I am so very thankful that it isn’t something that those around me can hear. It is a struggle daily because I hold people to the same standards I hold myself to and when they fall short, I go down the road of judgment. So when the words of this song I have been hearing a lot lately are sung, I am convicted and I have to make the conscious decision to stop going down that road. Here are the words to the song Revolutionary by Josh Wilson:

Maybe you’re not like me, maybe we don’t agree, Maybe that doesn’t mean we gotta be enemies. Maybe we just get brave, take a leap of faith, call a truce so me and you can find a better way

Let’s take some time, open our eyes, look and listen, yeah. And we’re gonna find we’re more alike than we are different, yeah

Why does kindness seem revolutionary, when did we let hate get so ordinary, let’s turn it around, flip the script, judge slow, love quick, God help us get revolutionary.

I’m turning the TV down, Drowning their voices out, cause I believe that you and me can find some common ground. See maybe I’m not like you, but I’ll walk a mile in your shoes if it means I might see the world the way you do.

Josh Wilson

On The Road Again

Don’t make me turn this car around!

A few weeks ago my hubby saw that his youth pastor (who now is a senior pastor) was retiring. This gentleman has been in the ministry for over 40 years and has known my husband for most of his life, even to the point that my mother in law was the youth pastor for the gentleman’s wife. This meant that our family was going on a road trip. We were burdened with the task of having to go to the coast, spend the night and visit with the special people….let me tell you if this is a burden I have to do often sign me up!

Our car trips are probably close to many other people’s car trips, we pack up the car, everyone chooses their seats and we make sure even the dog is buckled in. We all have our owns snacks, our own devices to use when bored and the excitement to get the trip started. The only thing we didn’t know for sure was how cold it would be on the coast. We looked at the weather of course but sometimes you still don’t know until you get there especially when it comes to the Oregon coast. One minute beautiful and sunny then the wind just picks up and you are wishing for your heavy coat and pants. I love the trips with the family because the kids talk and mess with each other and Tim and I can talk without outside distractions. We left Saturday afternoon, the trip was only four hours drive time but took longer due to some stops along the way. One stop in particular was in an area a out 2 hours into our trip where the sign warned there could be a thirty minute delay. The area around us was pretty which was nice, and we were able to be in the shade which was a bonus, but those did not calm the sudden urge that everyone had including the dog to have to go to the bathroom. We looked as far as we could see in front of us to see if there was any movements of the cars, we watch a little bit the people in front and behind us get their animals and themselves out of their cars to stretch and find trees to hide behind as they relieved themselves. We decided we probably had time to follow suit and find our own trees and so the dog and I were the first out. Just as we got back into the car and the girls got out, the cars started turning on, so the scramble to get back in was quick and a bit panicked. We managed to get everyone in without slamming fingers or choice words. We got to the coast without any further delay, we stayed at an Inn that overlooked the ocean and when we got to the beach it was the perfect weather. We were even able to get the kids out to do some Halloween activities. Couldn’t ask for a better day.

I knew this trip was important to my hubby but I didn’t realize how important until we arrived at the church. We arrived a little bit early so that he could see the pastor. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to catch the when they first saw each other but the smiles were big and hugs were given. The church was a small church in a small community but it was full of love. The gentleman had been a pastor at this church for 14 years and had seen them through all of life’s challenges. Looking back over the weekend I should have caught on how important this was when we actually spent more time in the car than we did being at the coast. You know someone is special if you are willing to drive longer than the time you will spend with them. Seeing the tears that came to my hubby’s eyes during the service, confirmed the special relationship Pastor Dave and his wife had with Tim and his parents and siblings. Well worth the trip even if it was for an hour service and a bit of visiting afterwards.

We went back to the beach to have lunch before we headed back home. Once we got on the road I started to think about the relationships I have had over the years including my own youth pastors, friends, family and coworkers. I know that of the people I thought about there are only about a handful that I would drive hours to go see even if the time spent with them was less than the drive time. I then thought about if I had been as much of an influence on someone’s life that they would want to do that for me. I can’t say for certain that I have been and that is ok, I just hope that throughout my years on this earth I was kind and I smiled at people and that I stood up for something. Luckily on this car trip I did not have to yell at the kids “Don’t make me turn this car around!” even better than that I got to be a part of something special between three people who have been in each other’s lives for a long time. 1John 4:7-8 says this:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

When we make ourselves available to love our ability to do so is in God’s hands. We were not called to do love perfectly but we were called to be available to do it, it’s when we run from that call that we find ourselves unsettled. Pastor Dave and his wife opened their hearts and their lives to many, many people over the lifetime of their ministry, and for that I am thankful because part of who my husband is, is because of these two people. They chose humility, love, integrity, and a bit of fun and because of that we did a road trip to the coast to be there for them when Pastor Dave did his last sermon, which among others things was about love, taking risks, taking the time to actually talk to people and most importantly to love always, even when it’s hard. Until next time:


What the world needs for true happiness is a shift from exploitation to service, arrogance to humility, selfish cruelty to compassion and hatred to love. Radhanath Swami




And Then There Was Three

Train up a child…..

Almost 15 years ago right around this time, my wonderful hubby and I decided to have a date. It was just the two of us not counting our two dogs so we decided that once we were both done with work we would head to a local restaurant and just enjoy the great food and each other’s company. Work had been busy for both of us and at that time I was a week over eight months pregnant, so it came as no surprise that I wanted to have ice cream after dinner. Granted this couldn’t be just any ice cream, it had to be cheesecake ice cream with m ‘n’ m’s and Oreo’s mixed in, thank goodness there was a Cold Stone in our town. When we got home all was good and quiet until our baby decided that she wanted to be three weeks early. So after a few not so pleasant hours our daughter Tabitha joined us with very, very strong lungs. So on the eve of her 15th birthday I write this. I debated over a few topics I could write about and wasn’t quite sure until after I was done with an appointment today at a lady’s house.

This lady was actually a grandmother, she was fortunate enough to live with her daughter and grandson. My trip there was to help the vet with routine appointments with this lady’s animals. Afterwards we were chatting a little bit and she brought up that her grandson, like so many other kids, was probably not learning a whole lot with this distance learning module. She felt he was probably playing video games more than paying attention in class. It didn’t seem any different to her the learning platforms that kids were on, only just that some kids were in private schools vs. public schools and since most of the private schools had religion built into them, she was having to “unteach” her grandson religion. And this here is what I thought I would ponder about.

In Proverbs 22:6 it says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. When Tabby was born we knew that she would be raised going to church. With my hubby and I both being believers in Christ, church is important to us and we knew that no matter how many kids we would have they would learn who Christ is, learn the Bible and when the time came for them to make up their minds about whether they wanted to stay in the faith we would not force it on them but we would expect that they would make educated decisions. The lady that felt she had to “unteach” her grandson decided that since their family was so into science he should know better to believe in the religion lessons he had been taught. In one of my previous blog posts “Are you Seriously Just Sitting There?” I wrote about how you can lead someone to the “water” but you can’t make them drink it. Basically what I was trying to emphasize is that you can’t control what other people think, you can guide them and help them reach a decision but at the end of the day, that person is going to think for themselves.

newborn baby
kids in a classroom with a teacher

My hubby and I have three amazing kids, they are all growing up in the church and they are learning about the Bible and Jesus. They also are learning about Anime, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Fortnite. Am I happy about this, not so much. Do I have extended family reaching out to me a times because of something one of the girls posts on one of their sites they are on? You better believe I do, but I as a parent have to step back and try to take in the big picture too. I see on a daily basis my Tabby girl help her little brother with his homework. I see my middle child Leah, go to work with me just so she can learn and help me with the animals I help. I see my youngest Tyler be a goofy, fun sweet little kid. There are a lot of things that I wish my kids didn’t know but I figured if I didn’t step up and talk to them about these things they would go and find out other ways. I love to learn and I know they do too, so with everything from religion to science why not see all sides to it and make informed decisions. To try and “unteach” something ineffably will draw the person back to the topic at hand and will probably make them cling to it more. The verse in Proverbs doesn’t say force your child in the way they will go, nor does it say demand your child in the way they will go. It says TRAIN your child in the way they should go. In the end that is all we can really do anyways.

My daughter Tabby will have a birthday party tomorrow, she will have some friends over and the menu calls for pizza and cake. Her friends are not like her in temperament, views, or religion. They do not lead perfect lives and sometimes they are a bit rough around the edges. They like hanging out with Tabby though because she cares about them and she likes to be the “mother” figure of their friend group. They have learned over the years of knowing her that she is a Christian, she doesn’t cuss, and she aspires to get good grades, and she is fun to be around. I love that her friends come from different walks of life than her. She learns things about the world this way. She learns that she is no better than them, but she doesn’t have to follow is some of the things that they do, just as they have learned the same about her. So on this eve of her birthday as she is at youth group I get to ponder how very different we as people are from each other and that is ok. I get to think about how fun it will be to practically get sick from the sugar high we will all get from her cake, but savor that thought because it’s for her. So as I enjoy my daughter’s day with her and the family tomorrow, I hope you can ponder what it is that you believe. Are there subjects you feel you need to “unteach” your children? What if instead you took on each subject/situation with an open mind and guided and trained your children instead? What would that look like? Until next time:

Life is filled with pain and beauty. It’s a journey, a learning experience. You have always been a girl who has had to learn by doing, not by watching and listening—-don’t change that. Don’t change that now—you are too young.

Karyn Bosnak

I Can’t, I’m Just Too Busy

Too busy doing what?

As Americans we tend to be so busy, but what are we busy doing exactly? What do we fill our hours up with? Where do we place our priorities? It seems at times we say that we are busy so that we sound important, we say we are busy to get out of doing things we may not want to do. We may even say we are busy because we doing want to be around people, or we really just don’t want to do anything but don’t want to say that exactly. Of course there is still just saying we are busy because in that moment we actually are. The amount of busy-ness we have in our lives has everything to do with how we prioritize the different jobs/actitvites we have going on. When we practice good time management and can get the smaller minute items in our lives planned the quality of our busy-ness gets better.

Every Thursday at 6:30am I have a very important meeting that I must attend. It is such an important meeting that I have moved other things in my life around just so that I can be there for it. Before this meeting was set at this time, I had a dog walk with Jorj scheduled with a workout to follow. I now get up earlier for the walk and do my workout afterwards. Now this meeting isn’t one where I would loose my job if I didn’t attend it , but I would loose a bit of my ability to have a good day. This meeting is with someone that is very important in my life. She gets me thinking, opens my eyes up to new insights, and to be honest when the screen freezes ( which it does on occasion) her face is always funny to see. This meeting is with my sister. When we talked a few days ago she asked me how I was doing. This is a typical question for her but today as I was giving her my typical answer of “well I am busy”, it occurred to me that though I am busy, what is the quality of my busy-ness. To top this off I started thinking about if I am staying busy because I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t busy? So with that last question, I would have a hard time not being busy even if the level of busy-ness that I hold right now would drop. This is because I am a momma of three kids and with my hubby being in school too there is a lot of stuff I would have to do around the house to keep them going. When my “meeting” with my sister was finished I sat down and wrote down what it was that actually filled my days. When I looked at my list I realized that for one, I work A LOT, and I don’t think I really need to, I walk and exercise quite a bit and I am glad I do, I don’t write enough and I want to change that, I read some and love when I can do more, and what I want to change the most is that I am not busy enough with my family and my faith. I am not that much of a social person so being with other people (especially during this COVID season) didn’t even make it on my list, but I will say I do miss more core friend group.

What being “too busy” brought to my life as well is some turmoil with my hubby. So a few months ago we had finally said we are going to take care of our kitchen floor. We had done an addition almost 9 years ago that was wonderful other than our floor. We had put tile down and it had stayed for a while but then the grout started chipping and the tile started popping up in places and even breaking. We would fix the tiles by replacing them but over the course of the last two years we just started taping the tiles together and sweeping in between the tiles where there was no more grout. I was stressed looking at the floor, my kids no longer wanted to sweep the floor themselves because it was too hard, and my hubby just wanted to rip it out. Back to the turmoil with the hubby. He had asked me to head up this project because he had other projects going and was going to be started school up again, and I wanted a certain type of flooring and was picky about the coloration of the floor up against the cabinets. I had agreed to the project but in the back of my mind I was really thinking “ crap! When am I going to be able to start this? I have no time!” I did not prioritize my busy-ness, and I did not do any time management planning. One day I came home to the kitchen floor half way removed and knew I put off the floor for too long. That weekend I tackled what I could of the floor and worked with Tim on removing the rest of the tiles, cement boards and screws. We talked about the next phase and realized the new flooring might not go in as quickly as we would like because of where we both were in our busy-ness. We both had to be ok with this but knew that this was a project that was important and needed to be brought up in both of our priorities.


I admit I do hide behind being busy when I really want to just do nothing, or when I am mentally and emotionally tired. Changing into comfy clothes, crawling under an blanket on the couch with some hot tea and a book sounds dreamy when given that choice vs. going out to do an activity. If you were to sit down and list out what you do each day and then prioritize the quality of busy-ness that is associated with those activities, would it open your eyes? Would you change some things? Would the list make you realize that you are hiding behind your “busy-ness”? If you are finding yourself saying you are busy but you really don’t know what it is that is making you so busy, it might be a good idea to step back, make a list and re-think your priorities. Until next time:

Being busy doesn’t always mean real work. The object of all work is production and accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence and honest purpose and perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

Thomas A. Edison

Are You Seriously Just Sitting There?

What a lazy bum!

Work ethic seems to be lacking these days. It doesn’t seem that people stick with jobs very long, when the going gets tough they are more than happy to leave. Granted when the work environment is toxic and the powers that be don’t seem to want to do anything about it then yes leaving might be a good idea. When the work is hard or even something that no one in particular wants to do that doesn’t mean you give up and go home. Sticking through the hard stuff makes the job more worthwhile. It seems funny for me to say this because my mom and dad used to say it to me and I am sure their parents said it to them but it really feels like “when I was a kid” people cared about doing a good job more. They wanted to be loyal to their bosses, coworkers and their job. Even when it wasn’t about their job and it was projects they did at home or out of the work place they took pride in their work. It really feels like now a days it’s like pulling teeth to get stuff done or even to keep people moving forward. I bring this up probably more out of frustration than anything. So often I look at what is going on around me and how people act when no one seems to be “looking” and it really makes me want to instill more into my kids heads that hard work will pay off.

Picture this if you will. The alarm clock goes off at 6 am because the dog needs a walk. Once back from that kids need to be woken up for school while you get ready for work and the hubby gets coffee going. Once at work, clients start arriving, projects get started and coworkers slowly start to trickle in. This is where it gets tough though. If you’re like me you have certain expectations set in your head as to how your coworkers should work. These expectations are what you would expect of your employees if you were the boss. The problem is, not everyone has those same expectations of themselves or work the way you think they should work so you get frustrated. Since you are not the boss you can’t just go and tell your coworkers to do certain jobs or get off their tushies to get work done and so you let your frustrations grow. You get through your day but you are not sure how because by the time the doors are locked and the lights turned off there may be only one maybe two people that you don’t want to physically ring their necks. In your mind you can’t see how some people you work with still have their jobs and yet they do. So you then hope that the drive home will help calm you down and clear your mind, and it does until, you get home and get told of the ups and downs of your family’s day. It’s not so horrible because you at least know that they are trying to learn and grow and for the most part have better work ethics that some you work with. At last you are able to relax and once the frustration wave has passed you can look back and see that it may only be on certain days or with certain people that you start to feel stressed and can’t fathom why it’s hard for them to embrace hard work.

So what do you do about this? Obviously you can’t keep letting frustration rule and forcing your expectations on others isn’t going to happen. I read somewhere that you can t force people to think the way you do but you can guide them and lead them down the path. When our kids are young we teach them the ways we feel they should act and be when they are older. We talk to them about it, we show them how to do things and in ways we shape how they think and believe about things. Never once are we able to actually make them think like we do though. That is the great thing about being God’s creation, he gave each of us a brain and the freedom to use it how we chose. That is exactly what the people around us do, including our coworkers. It is the choice of each person to prioritize what they feel is important. So as hard as it may be at times we may just have to ask for help. If you see someone just sitting there not doing anything in particular ask if they are available. Don’t assume that they are not doing something, they could have clocked off and are waiting for a coworker to do the same, so you could ask them to wait in the employee lounge. They could have been asked by the boss to pay close attention to something and that is what they are doing. As hard as it may be giving people the benefit of the doubt may surprise you. If you work hard at doing your job/project/skill to the best of your ability, than you can go home knowing you did well. If you are upset at someone you have to talk to them about it, because if they don’t know you are upset, than it can’t get fixed. If you are still upset talking to someone you trust could be helpful. Allowing someone elses lack of meeting up to your expectations, and thus upsetting you just traps you in your own unhappiness and they know nothing about it. Choosing to move forward and except they are who they are and most importantly they are not you can be hard but necessary. Choosing to ask for help can be beneficial. The important thing is that you have to take action, you have to move forward. As I write this I am having to take my own advice, and it is not easy but I don’t want to be stuck in a prison of my own making, do you? Until next time:

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some people turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.

Sam Ewing

Friendships

Quality over quantity

When you look in the dictionary the definition of friendship is this: It is a state of being friends: friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. This sounds so stagnant, unliving, flat. Who would want to have a friendship if it really was based on the definition? Luckily friendships are living and breathing, they have an ebb and flow. They are based on the stupid stuff you did last summer, the fun trip you took to the fair, the impromptu lunch date. Some friendships are there for a specific season and others are there for a lifetime. Friendships start to take on a living form like breathing in and out. To have that best friend that we can relay on for anything is just as important as having a group of best friends that do most everything together. What makes friendships last is the quality of the relationship. I had been talking to a client (who is also a good friend) today about the fact that with age our friend groups seems to stop growing in numbers but instead start growing in importance. We noticed that we may not see our friends all of the time but when we do see them the amount of time spent with them seems longer. What hit me when we talked about this was the fact that I had gone to this friend’s house to help her dog with some pain issues, which maybe took me 15 minutes to do, the other 30-45minutes was spent talking with this wonderful lady. Which then made me think of this other friendship that I have, this is how it has been a part of my life:

A few years back (about 38 years to be exact) there was these two little girls. They both went to the same school but different kindergarten classrooms. They played with each other on the playground and sat near each other at storytime. They were friends. Fast forward a couple of years, these same two girls, not always in the same classes in school but will still find each other on the playground to play and introduce each other to some other kids that would become part of their friend group. These two girls did elementary school together, middle school and high school. They had friends come and go from their friend group, but they made sure to always be friends. Their friendship worked so well because they needed each other. One was outgoing, beautiful inside and out, energetic and willing to try new things. The other was equally beautiful inside and out, but was much more reserved, relied on her outgoing friend to make friends and was more than willing to be the behind the scenes type of person. When high school finished they went their separate ways for college but still stayed in touch. Each girl visited the other in their respective colleges and when it was finally time to settle down in a town though they were far apart from each other, they would visit and have those type of phone calls that would last for hours. The quality of this friendship was so good and strong, that the two ended up living in the same town, living like sisters, blessed with the fact that their kids call them aunts. It’s a lifetime friendship.

Now I cannot talk about friendships without bringing my sister into the discussion. I realize there are those out in the world that have never had the privilege of having a relationship so strong that to live without it would be almost impossible. So other than my husband who is my best friend and God who is my only friend I can trust 100%, my sister is the one person that knows everything about me. To be honest I think she even knows when I burp funny. She and I are different in so many ways that in the end that is what makes us get along so well. Her opinion matters to me, but I love to get her riled. When we both want to do the same thing, I find it is my ultimate duty to make sure she knows that it is a competition and there will be trash talk happening. When I had a very hard time at work, I knew that she would talk me through it. I love that my oldest daughter is a mini version of my sister. I love it more that my sister says my middle child is a mini version of me. My sister and I have not lived in the same state in over 20 years but we talk to each other weekly. It’s a lifetime friendship.

The friendships that can stand the test of time are the best for sure but there are also those friendships that see you through a season in your life. Once that season is over, the person quietly steps back but is still a friend, moves to the category of lifetime friendship, or fades to the background because of changing circumstances. These are not bad friendships, to be honest they are some of the best kinds because you learn and grow from these friendships in ways you might not realize with a friendship that has been ongoing for years. When my husband and I were in our first years of parenthood, we worked opposite shifts so that the kids could have one of us at home with them, but there were times that our schedules would overlap and we would have to have someone babysit. We were blessed with being introduced to a lady we to this day still call Grandma Judy. She took our kids whenever we needed her to and she would take them even when we didn’t. She and her husband loved our kids like their own grandkids. In our minds they were family. As our kids grew older they were able to be at home by themselves more so Grandma Judy started to move out of the picture more, but not out of our hearts. Today we don’t see Grandma Judy much, but the friendship we have with her and her husband is still strong. She was there for us during a season in our lives when we really needed her, we were blessed by her and her husband. She is a lifetime friend.

What kind of friend are you to the people around you? To that end I ask myself what kind of friend am I to those who I know? Making a friendship work and last a long time takes work, love, and dedication to each other. We were not made to be alone in this world. We were made for relationships. We were made for community. Even the most introverted person has his/her “people” that make up the tribe. Remember we are who we hang out with so we might as well make it count. Until next time her is a song that has been special to me and my lifelong friends for so many years:

You Are What You Eat

Fast food or homemade?

We have all heard this saying: “You are what you eat”. What does this really mean though? One would hope that eating a whole box of DingDongs doesn’t mean that I am a ding dong, though some would argue I don’t need to eat any DingDongs to be a ding dong. Over the years of working on eating better I have noticed a few things that while not surprising have made me stop and think about the foods I am willing to consume. I write this as my stomach hurts because I decided to drink a Pepsi. Since I rarely have Pepsi anymore, my body is not used to it, thus the unpleasant feelings in my midsection. Foods can help our bodies feel better, stay healthy, and work smoothly.

One night I came home from work right when dinner was almost done. As I was getting changed the kids where setting the table. I heard my hubby ask which kid was going to make the salad, and I had to stop and check if I had heard correctly. Sure enough my Tabby girl was chopping up some spinach and adding it to the cucumbers and carrots she had already cut. My jaw was almost to the ground because if you know my family they like carrots and cucumbers when it comes to veggies, that is it. The fact that something else green was going into the bowl to finish off the salad was amazing to me. Sure enough though along with the carrots and cucumbers was lettuce and spinach. Every night since then we have had this salad and it’s been great. So what you say? This is important because there are nights when getting a healthy meal on the table is hard when there are other activities that take up the time it would take to make the dinners, so knowing that at least we are getting our veggies put this momma’s mind at ease.

The saying “you are what you eat” also goes along with the saying “you are who you hang out with” They both are saying the same thing, good goes in, good comes out. Bad goes in, bad comes out. If I can help it, my hubby DOES NOT eat beans or onions, and when he does we all know about it. Same goes for what my kids get to watch on TV or on their Ipads. If it is not something my husband I feel they should be watching it gets changed, end of story. As parents it is our job to bring up our kids knowing they are loved. The way we treat them and teach them will ultimately shape who they are when they are older. Just as we try and feed them good nutritious foods we try and fill their ears with good, healthy, positive words and show them the same types of actions. Giving them hearty salads instead of McDonald’s hamburgers.

My daughter went to work with me the other day. I love that she comes with me, since she is learning what it means to work hard and earn a little extra cash. I also love that she is surrounded by people who are amazing and great teachers. She is getting good poured into her that will help her through the days when she is exposed to the bad. On the flip side I have a friend who had a lot of negativity in her life, and when she is around certain people she does not have the confidence she normally has. She is working on it but it is like being fed Twinkies your whole life and now you are trying to eat oranges. Once the decision is made to switch it takes time, and there are instances where it feels like you are taking 1 step forward and 3 steps back but the act of moving forward is still happening.

If what we eat is so important and what we allow in our heads even more so, why do we get ourselves into situations where we are tempted to eat the bad foods and have the negativity within earshot. Sometimes it is out of our control what is put before us. I remember at a Christmas party I went to once, there was candy everywhere, almost like the hostess knew I (who loves candy) was coming…..wink, wink. The problem was, I was actually trying to stay away from candy and other sweets. I was doing it as part of a challenge, with a co-worker. I failed miserably that night. Once I had one candy it was like the floodgates opened and I couldn’t stop. The same goes with words. One morning I woke up, went on a walk with Jorj and came back without ever knowing that my hubby had to sleep on the couch for the night because my snoring was so bad. He was passively letting me know that he wasn’t too happy about the fact that the couch was his bed but there wasn’t really anything I could do about the situation, but since he was upset about it enough to mention it a few times it really set my mood for the day. I really don’t think he intended to change my outlook but in the end it did. I allowed negative words to enter my brain and then ultimately let them reset my day from starting out good to a so-so day in the end.

So what do we do from here? We have to build up will power to say no to the not so healthy foods, as well as say no to the negative words and thoughts that infiltrate our thoughts. It is not an easy tasks but even the Bible says this in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy---meditate on these things.

I Am Not Enough

Am I a pawn or a soldier?

Going to church is an important part of my family’s routine. My husband and I were brought up in the church and we wanted to make sure that our kids were too. When the pandemic hit it was harder for me than probably the rest of my family that we couldn’t go to church because it was a place that I could worship and find rest from a busy week. We started going virtually but it really wasn’t the same though it did help to fill the void of no church at all. Now don’t get me wrong I still studied the Bible on my own but there is just something about getting together with other believers and learning and praising together. So when we were able to start going back, we did but even that was different since our kids wanted to still keep doing the virtual church. So my hubby and I came up with a solution and said that every other week we would go to our normal church as a family and then on the off Sundays they could stay home and do the virtual church services they liked too. There was one caveat to this though on Sunday nights we would discuss what we learned and talk about how we could apply it to our lives.

As a family we didn’t want to sit back and allow a problem to stop us from learning at growing in our faith. In this world if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. So this brings be to the fact that I am not enough, none of us are really. We were not made to be our own saviors, our own soldiers against the fight of all the bad in the world. We were not called to be pawns either, we were not called to be pushovers, to be people that others have control over. We were made to be individuals who are not enough by ourselves but fully enough when we let Christ into our lives to help us be who we are called to be. Every day I wake up knowing that I am fighting a battle. A battle for my kids, a battle for myself and my husband. This is not your ordinary battle, it mostly is played out in our brains and our thoughts. As my husband I talked with the kids tonight over dinner we talked about how much we like to compare ourselves to others. My daughter is writing little online books and has 1.4k readers, whereas I have my blog with 35 followers, do I start to compare? My friend has a successful online clothing company that another friend of mine was envious of because she can barely get hers off the ground. Going onto Facebook and I see some guy has a bigger buck than his buddy…..the list can go on and on.

In order to be soldiers we need to bypass all of this, it is what makes us pawns. If we want to go further in this world we need to realize that we are not enough by ourselves. All too often we are trying to fix the problems we see in front of us not realizing that the problems we see are not the things to fix, it is the selfishness, pride, haughtiness, individualism, disrespectfulness..etc that need to be dealt with. Think of it this way, those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humble will be exalted. The only person we need to be like is Christ. If you don’t know what he is like the Bible will show you and tell you.

One year while I was the leader of the youth group at our church, we were learning about Easter. When I thought about the lesson I wanted to get across to the teens I realized that if I just stood in front of them and talked that the message wouldn’t really sink in, so I got a little bit creative. I split them into groups and had different rooms set up throughout the church. The first room, the teens had to look through newspaper articles and cut out stories that highlighted people helping other people. They then would tape them up on the wall and tell us why they chose that particular story. This was done so that they could see people helping people like Christ helped those around him.

The second room thank you cards were placed on the table and they were just asked to think of someone who was important to them that they could write a thank you card to. We told them they could take the cared with them or we would mail it for them so that the person would get this special note. Some of them picked teachers others their parents, and still others a special adult in their lives. This was so they could see that saying thanks to someone special was like saying thank you to Christ for what he did for us on the cross.

The third room had basins of water and dry towels, all we asked them to do in this room was to pick a partner and wash their feet. As you can imagine the teens were a little grossed out by this, and understandably so, a lot of the kids had just finished their sports practice and had the same shoes and socks on from the day. With a bit of encouraging the teens went through with the task. This room was set up to show the teens that the world doesn’t revolved around them, they need to learn to serve. Christ served those around him and taught that serving is better than being served.

The last room was back in our main meeting spot. Food was set up on the tables (we had pre-arranged to have a potluck), we talked about how Christ took care of his followers. All the way up until the end and then even after. When we don’t let worry consume us and we trust that our needs will be met we are like Christ.

I love that I am not enough, I love that I don’t have to depend on myself to be the best mom, the best wife, the best worker, the best friend, the best Christian. If I depended on myself for these things I would fall flat on my face and would fail every time. I am a soldier, I need to fight the war that goes on in between my ears. I need to step back and not allow those around me to influence the way I see myself. I need to show my kids how to be “not enough” either. When I do this they will be stronger and more able to fight the battles that they have come at them. Don’t be a pawn. You have to stand for something, so make it worth your time and your heart. Until next time:

When you are alone you can be anyone you thing you are: a loving spouse, a loyal employee, a good parent. It’s when you get around others that the truth comes out, so who are you?

Based On A Feeling

How do you know?

Feelings are such powerful things. They can change the way a day goes, a conversation, even decisions, and the funny thing they are so fickle it’s hard to say trust them. But then we do, the gut feeling we have that might be telling us not to do something. The butterflies that pop up right before you are going to do something that makes you nervous. That weird kind of “off” feeling you get when someone that you are close to is not doing well. The happy feeling you get when you see someone or something that is special to you. That “hangry” feeling you get when you know you should have eaten but decided not to so people are now avoiding you. That wonderful feeling you get when you have helped someone. With so many feelings floating around us how can we actually make a rational decision? The feelings have to be incorporated into the process, but not allowed to take over it.

One night I came home from work and I could just sense that everyone at the house needed a break from each other. One daughter was in her room, the other was quietly sitting on the couch with earphones in and my son was secluded in his room playing a video game. My husband was making dinner which smelled so yummy but was dampened by the stress that could be felt throughout the house. I think the only one that had a smile on his face was Jorj my dog. School had been kind of rough for the girls and my son had forgotten to do his chores. My husband had started up school again too and was trying to get ahead in some of his classes but the professors were making it difficult because they kept adding on assignments. So I walked into this after a long day. We all just needed to step back and wind down. The emotions were high and the outlets were low. So after dinner I suggested that we take Jorj for a walk. Nothing special, except it got us out of the house. The girls could take Jorj at a faster pace and talk more with each other. Tim, Tyler and I could be a little bit slower which allowed Tyler to tell me about his day and Tim could quietly walk and sort out his thoughts. It was the break our emotions and feelings needed.

eggs with emotions, child laughing, family taking a hike with their dog

On a lighter note, belly jiggling, bent over laughter. The kind where you feel like you have done a full cardio workout from laughing so hard. These moments are so refreshing because afterwards your spirits are lifted and your heart is singing. The best thing about these moments is that they can be caused by just about anything. One day at work we had been going at top notch speeds trying to keep up with the amount of animals coming in. It was one of those days where you put your head down and you keep moving forward. Until little “Princess” came in, she was the classic case of too much human love in the way of treats and her weight proved it. She had been brought in because she was licking her butt (well at least she tried to as much as she could) and her owners thought maybe her anal glands needed to be expressed. I was the lucky tech that day that got to do the expression. Now in the vet world there are days where we try and go for distance when expressing anal glands, in this I mean when they come shooting out, how far can you shoot them and can you keep them from hitting yourself or your coworkers. Well with this particular patient she was full and my aim was off……way off. So while I was washing the anal gland fluid from my eyeball my coworkers were on the floor laughing. It was not intentional but it was what we needed. Emotions and feelings were high and that belly jiggling, bent over laughter hit the spot. Oh and “Princess” went home no worse for wear feeling so much better.

Allowing our feelings to get the better of us isn’t always a good thing. They can cause us to say things we don’t mean and make decisions we don’t want. They can also help us when we don’t realize how much we need a good laugh or even a good talk. When we choose to have a good balance of logic and emotions we become more compassionate people, more driven people. We start to see obstacles in a new light. If we add in the deeper joy even the hardest of situations are bearable. Get in tuned with what you are feeling, let the emotions come to the forefront but don’t allow yourself to just move based on your feelings and emotions. They are fleeting. Pray about what is in front of you sleep on it and when you need to express your feelings without guilt. A good laugh is just as important as a good cry. A good scream is just as important as a quiet time with a journal. We were made to feel and live, but we were also made to be rational and use our logic. Lift up those around you who need encouragement and find that joy that comes from being there for others. Shine on sister, laugh loud and cry hard. Listen to yourself and become a person of joy. Until next time:

To really find joy deep down you have to realize that life will not always be easy but looking for the good around you, inside of you and from the people close to you will make whatever comes your way doable. You were not meant to live this life alone.

So Sorry

What do we apologize for?

This morning I was finally able to take Jorj out for our morning walk. The last few day’s circumstances such as pressing the snooze button a little too much and Jorj having a seizure didn’t allow for the early morning walks to take place. I was determined this morning though, I knew that I didn’t have to be at work until later in the morning and the fact that my alarm clock was moved away from it’s normal location made it so I had to get up and turn it off. This morning started off the same as it always does. It was a little bit chilly, and dark but the different paths we take around the neighborhood are so familiar the fact that it was a bit dark was no issue. This walk took us up to the main road via side streets, which I love, quiet neighborhoods are awesome. Once I got closer to home though there was this one house that had two dogs in their yard. These dogs started to do what dogs are suppose to do, they started barking. I had no issue with it and I knew that Jorj could care less, but the barking brought the owners out, who started to call the dogs in, to no avail. We were almost fully by the house when the dogs decided to listen to their names being called, and the owners showed their faces. It was at that moment that I decided to call out “Sorry!”.

This got me thinking, why in the world did I just apologize for something I didn’t do? I was just walking Jorj. I did not provoke the dogs, or stay near their yard longer than normal. The dogs in the yard were not overly obnoxious, they were just too busy barking to hear the owners tell them to stop. I think mostly the apology was made because the owners had to come out of their home. So basically it was said for no reason really. There was nothing that went wrong this morning, except for a little inconvenience.

So why do we say “I’m Sorry” even when we did nothing wrong? For the most part I don’t think it’s said to be flippant, and there are times when it should be said more often. What I have noticed though, is when someone isn’t as confident in themselves as they should be, the thought of inconveniencing someone does not sit right with them. Confident people say sorry when it is needed and overconfident people do not say it enough.

I worked with this gal a few years back who fell into the category of not having enough confidence in herself. The circumstances that caused her to be this way were not due to her inability to do her job well. The opposite was true. She was amazing at her job, was going to school, and had a small family, but she did not have the support system she needed to see that she was amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, her husband was great, and of course her kids adored her. She was getting good grades, but the place where she needed to have support (work) was not giving it to her, so she started to doubt her ability to do the job she was doing. When things went wrong she was the first to take the blame for it even if it wasn’t her fault. When certain co-workers were around she would apologize for the smallest of things. Talking to her boss would bring on anxiety. This girl needed a confidence booster, which came in the form of being fired.

It was hard at first, for my friend, until she started to see that she had worth. That the job did not define who she was. She was away from the people who made her anxious. She went down a whole new path in the form of a different job. She was literally like a butterfly emerging from her cocoon. Her confidence was being built up because she chose to believe in herself and not in what people said. Our brains are wired in such a way that every ten minutes a new thought is built. So we have the ability to re-direct our thoughts for the better. So what does this have to do with saying “I’m Sorry”? I think it has to do with what we say I’m sorry for. If it is truly for something we did or caused then by all means say the words, but if it’s because we don’t like to have someone not like us, or for a reason that is out of our control then at that point we should step back and think about why we would want to say those words. Most often it’s because of an underlining thought process or insecurity we have. So here are some parting words that will hopefully help transform insecure thoughts into more confident thoughts:

  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalms 139:14
  • Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
  • For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:26

And finally I will leave you with this quote:

Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.

Michael Josephson

God Made You Perfect

Perfect? Really?

The act of really looking at yourself in the mirror and liking what you see is a hard one. A teenage girl sees the pimple starting to form, the middle aged man starts to see the hairs growing out of places that it hasn’t grown before, even the wrinkles that have been getting progressively deeper is hard for the 50-something woman to see. We tend to bypass the beauty that is staring back at us because the flaws seem to be bigger than life. A few years ago I had read about this gal who decided to try an experiment. The lady had been struggling with low self esteem because in her mind she was too heavy, too dull looking and a little too blah. So for a two week period she decided she would not look at herself in the mirror. She removed all of the mirrors in her house. When she went driving somewhere she was diligent not to use her rearview mirror to look at herself. While at work, she knew of course that she would have to use the bathroom so she made sure to get in and out there as quick as she could. Even trying to get quick glances of herself in reflections of windows was not allowed. She was set on finishing this challenge she gave herself.

As you can imagine the first few days were very difficult for her. She would have to put on makeup and style her hair without a mirror. When choosing outfits she would just have to trust that she looked ok. When she went about her day she had to remind herself often that she could not find ways to see her reflection or look at a mirror. After about the forth day, it started to get a little easier, she decided to not wear as much make up, and she styled her hair a little more simple, but what she started to notice was that she felt better about herself. She started to see that the way she looked wasn’t nearly as important as how she treated herself and thought about herself. She started to start looking at people differently too. People started to comment on how she seemed different. She started to care more about the people around her vs. how they looked because she started to care more about who she was inside rather than the façade she was struggling to keep up with more make up and stylish hairdos.

My teenage daughter just started the 9th grade. She is your average kid who wears the messy bun on the top of her head with an oversized sweatshirt and leggings most days. She has braces with pink bands and mascara on her lashes. She is into anime and can talk your ear off about all of the characters. Back when she was in 6th grade she got it in her head that wearing high healed shoes everywhere was the thing to do. She experimented with make up and spend so much time in the bathroom perfecting her look we would get her up early on school days just so she wouldn’t be late for the bus. Her clothing was stylish for a 6th grader and she took pride in how she looked. Jr. High hit and that’s where she learned that the pressure to wear the right thing and have the right make up style was important. Near the end of her 8th grade year, things changed, her friends changed and she started to see herself as perfect the way she was. She had been trying so hard to look a certain way because her friends looked that same way, but then those friends moved on from the friendship and from there she started to see herself in a new light.

A few weeks ago my daughter went to her youth pastor and asked if she could give the message at one of the Wednesday night youth meetings. She told him her idea of what she wanted to talk about and he agreed to let her talk. She spend hours writing and rewriting her thoughts. She practiced with the youth pastor and they got the message nailed down. Last week was her talk. The main story line and lead in to her message was about Jacob and Esau in the Bible. These two were twins but as different as they could be. One was a momma’s boy and the other (Esau) was a big hairy burly man who did all the rough and tumble things big burly men do. Esau was also the first born and so he would get the inheritance. Jacob and his momma didn’t like this so they made a plan to trick Isaac, Esau and Jacob’s father. Since Isaac was almost blind, Jacob was able to trick him but putting goat hair on his arms and making himself smell like his brother. Long story short, Isaac was tricked by Jacob’s disguise, Jacob received Isaac’s blessing (basically he was awarded the inheritance) and Esau lost out on everything. Because of what Jacob did he lived his life in fear of his brother’s wrath. Instead of trusting that God would take care of him the second borne son, Jacob changed his appearance to trick his father to give him what he thought he deserved. My daughter’s talk was all about being deceived. She was deceived into thinking she had to look and act a certain way to fit in. She went on to say that people are “taught” to be a certain weight, have the right amount of money, and to act a certain way instead of just being who they are. When we believe we are not good enough we fall away from what the Bible says. God created us in His image, which means this: We were made perfectly, and God does not make mistakes. We are the ones that take what was given to us and try and change it.

Mirror and a Jacob and Esau from the Bible

Just as the woman who challenged herself to not look in the mirror for two weeks was able to start looking at herself and others in a different light, my daughter challenged her youth group to stop hiding behind the disguises. When we start to see ourselves as loved by a loving God, we can start to love others the same way. It doesn’t matter if you have a pimple on your cheek or hair growing out of your nose, God loves you and will provide for you. Until next time:

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful

Alice Walker

What Is Your Why?

Find your why

All too often people will want to do something because they think that is what they really want to do. What happens is they start to do this said thing and realize that it really wasn’t what they wanted. Some are lucky enough to figure this out before they make a big change in their lives but sometimes others aren’t so lucky and have to deal with the consequences of their decision. So what influences people? From what I have learned over the years social media is huge, family, friends, snap decisions based on a conversation. We are a society that seems to get bored quickly so we jump to the next great thing until that doesn’t satisfy us. Instant gratification simple as that. Most of the time we get trapped in his mindset because we don’t know our why. Why do we want to do the next best thing? Why do we want this change? Why is this one thing important to us?

My youngest child has the hardest time saving money. He gets his allowance and within a day it is spent. Now I will give you, he is eight and we are working to help him get better at saving for the things he really wants. The thing is, he changes his mind so often on what he wants I don’t think he knows anymore. So after he went to a friend’s birthday party he decided he wanted a hoover board like hers. He looked it up online and found out the price and even went as far to determine how long it would take him to save up the money based on what he got for his allowance. He did a great job in his research and even asked if he could do extra chores to earn more money. My husband and I were willing to help him too. He had his goal, he had his plan and he was excited to start….until he went and played Fortnite one night and found out there was a new skin he could buy for his character. His money was spend faster than I could has supercalifragalistic expialedosious. His why wasn’t strong enough to keep him from spending his money. He really wanted that hoover board, but that would take some time to get, so when the opportunity to buy something from his game came up and he knew he had the money for that, the game because more important and he got his instant gratification. Now my son is eight and this comes with the territory and I know he’ll learn that saving up for something is far better than that quick buy that you quickly forget about.

A few nights ago I had just gotten off of work and was a bit tired. My husband had been home with the kids and had been working on different jobs around the house as well as shopping and getting dinner done. I absolutely love that he is my best friend and we parent together. After dinner was done though I was ready to turn off my brain (somewhat) and get into a book I had been reading. My husband had other thoughts in mind and decided to take the dog on an evening walk. I had just sat down as he was heading out, I know my “why” for what I was doing was that I needed some down time. The next morning when I was on my own walk with our dog, I started thinking about the night before and why it was I didn’t t go on the walk with my husband. It would have been a great time for us to be alone, as well as be able to talk without interruption from the kids. One of my favorite things to do is go on walks and a walk with the hubby is even better. I started to feel a little guilty and even sad that I missed an opportunity to be with my man, but then it hit me. At that moment the night before, I was listening to my body, I was tired, I was ‘brain tired” and I needed to just take a break and not move for a while. My “why” at that moment was rest.

When it comes to finding your why, it takes stepping back and listening to yourself, praying and going to someone you trust when there is a big decision to make. Social media has taught us that instant gratification can happen. We get the “news” as it is happening. We get shown wonderful places to visit and fun things to make or try. We are influenced by those around us to change, to try something new. We look at our lives in the present and think “I need more, I need more stuff to be happy, I need more friends because the silence is too much, I need more adventures because my life is slowing down”. The list can go on and on. Our “why”has to come from inside. It has to be prayed about and thought out. When we don’t have our “why“ firmly in place we are just kites getting blown in the wind. Find the time to slow down and just be, and while you are there think about the things and people that are important to you and then from there you will start to build what your “why”is all about. Until next time:

Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.

Ellen Degeneres

Helpers

Bad things happen all the time

It is easy to say that this year has not been an easy one to deal with. It started out ok but quickly went into what most people are calling the Jumanji game. It is very easy to say no to the alarm clock and just head back to bed, all the while turning off every electronic device that will give you more news about what is going on in the world. Right when we think things are calming down something else happens. At this point I think the world is holding it’s collective breath and biting it’s nails to see what it coming in October. Sadly still we also look at our own lives or the lives of the ones around us and realize that there too circumstances happen that can cause a jolt to our hearts. So how do we, in the mist of chaos and uncertainty get through what has been thrown at us?

As Mr. Rogers would say: “Look for the helpers” As far back as I can remember whenever there was a major catastrophe there were people running away from the danger and there were those running to it. I am not just talking about our wonderful 1st responders. I am talking about the average everyday person who decided in that moment to help.

When I was in high school I went to Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount CA. One Sunday the pastor went up to the pulpit to start his sermon. Usually he says a prayer beforehand and that day was no different except for the fact that he was very somber. Earlier in the week one of the families in the church had a terrible thing happen to them, and he was asking for prayers. You see, the parents had gone out for the day and had a babysitter come stay with their young child. While the babysitter was taking the girl out in the stroller they were crossing the street, when a car came too quickly down the road. The babysitter was quick to act and pushed the stroller out of the way of the car and to safety while she took the force of the car hitting her. The babysitter did end up being ok, and what she did for that little girl made it so that she could be cuddled in her parent’s arms that night. The babysitter’s quick thinking saved a life.

Most recently with the fires in our side of the country, the news reports talk about the devastation, and about who was responsible. The news highlight the brave firefighters that have worked hard to battle the blazes and for that I am glad. The pull to be depressed or worried about the outcome of these fires is strong and in these moments it is most important to “look for the helpers”. So many people jumped in and started giving donations to help keep the firefighters fed and taken care of. Local farmers and ranchers came with horse trailers and evacuated as many animals as they could. A local vet in town ended her vacation early to get out to the areas where the was going to hit to help owners get their animals out. She also then gave of her time and services to help animals that were wounded or burned in the fires. Land owners offered up their pastures for the evacuated animals to be brought to. Hotel owners gave rooms to people. The community came together. The current “worldly” problems were put on the back burner so that people could come together.

Helpers were also those people who stayed put. They are the ones that though they were not rushing to help the fire evacuees, they instead showed up to work everyday and made sure store shelves were stocked, hotel rooms were cleaned, medical supplies were available. They made the chaotic world, normal because they did what they did everyday. For that vet who helped on the fire, her staff made sure her everyday patients were taken care of. For the farmers and ranchers, their ranch/farm hands made sure the farms and ranches kept running. Stores had the supplies needed for people to buy so they could donate. The community came together in this way too.

When you “look for the helpers” you will see that there is good in this world. That though there may be disasters happening people are good and want to bring the community together to help and support. Being a “helper” in everyday life is not hard. Be a listening ear to someone. Mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor. Offer to watch a friend’s child for an hour so she can go shopping. Offer a smile to a stranger. Encourage someone. When we are pushed into seeing the bad all the time, it is so important to look for the good instead. I pray after you have read this you will look at yourself in mirror and ask how you can be a “helper”. What if you were to write an actual letter to someone that helped you? What if you received a letter from someone that said thank you to you? Disasters shouldn’t have to happen for us to pull together. The world is already a hard place to live. What is stopping us from pulling together now and helping each other? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Until next time:

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

Mr. Rogers

Give Up, Give In, Get Going

Give up, give in, or get going

When it comes to action we have three options. We can chose to give up saying it is too hard, there is no way we can accomplish what is before us. We can give in to the fact that we have to go forward because there is no other option. We can get going and look at ways to accomplish the action or task. None of the three options tend to be easy and a lot of times the one we chose is based on how we were brought up or the experiences we have had in our lives. Our minds have a tendency to remember and fall back on what we know and what we have done in the past. Sometimes it has to do with survival, sometimes it has to do with what we perceive as the easy way out and sometimes we decide to forget what we have learned and press forward to try something new.

Giving up means seeing what is before us and deciding that it is just too much, too scary, too hard, too big, too much work, so we say no before we even start. A few years ago we took our family to Disneyland. It was the perfect time to go. Right before Christmas, The whole park was decorated perfectly, the carolers were out and the weather was practically perfect. Heck even the park was almost perfect with the amount of people in attendance. We had a three day passes and the best walking shoes we could find. One of the first rides was the Thunder Railroad. While standing in line we were able to see how fast the ride went and where the tracks went, so when my middle daughter announced that she was not going to go on this ride we were a bit shocked. She said she wouldn’t do rides that go fast and go into dark places (so basically every fast ride at the park). We asked her why and what she said actually didn’t come to a surprise for me. She had done a fast dark ride before and it really scared her. I had forgotten about that incident. She was older so I tried to talk to her about how she should just try this ride and see what she thought. She was not having it so her and I sat the ride out as well as other rides that day. She had given up on trying the new rides because of the potential of them being scary like the previous ride was. Giving up because of fear is a bad habit to start. There are so many experiences that will be missed because of the potential that something will go wrong. You put yourself is a prison of sorts.

Giving in to something usually happens because there is pressure being put on you to do that thing. So many times we see this happening in schools or in groups of young people. The whole pear pressure scenario. I remember so vividly when I was in high school there was this guy who just wanted to fit in. He was that loner guy who really didn’t want to be a loner but since he was just a little odd and didn’t wear the right close it was hard for him to fit in. Whenever he did try to fit it, he tried so hard that it was obvious what he was trying to do. Finally a couple of guys started to hang out with him but they started to pressure him to do things against the rules to where he started to get in trouble. He so badly wanted to fit in thought that he gave in to the pressure that was being put on him by his “friends”. He didn’t see any other way so he gave in. At the time it seemed a normal thing for kids to do, but looking back it’s sad that he felt there was no other way.

When we decide to get going we are looking at what is ahead of us whether it’s a mountain or a molehill and we are deciding to move. This is my favorite choice. I have done those other two. I have given up and given in, thinking there was no other way. When I decide to get going I feel charged. I feel creative juices flowing, to be able to figure out solutions and come up with is so exciting. When I can check things off my list that sense of accomplishment stays with me. When I met my good friend Jaime she had come into the vet hospital I worked at and asked if anyone wanted to start running with her. Running was a very bad word in my vocabulary. It was not my thing, but that day it hit me, I had been saying no to myself only because I felt running was too hard. That day I said yes to Jaime and for years after that I kept saying yes to running. My first “race” was actually two races that I did with Jaime. The first one was a 5k with the second one being that same day, a half hour after the first one ended that was 10 MILES! My first ever race ended up being 13.2 miles. I was hooked from there. I did races around Crater Lake as well as other lakes in the area. I was able to get my middle daughter into running with me and now she leaves me in he dust. My yes to Jaime was such a wonderful thing. I took something I thought I would hate and decided to get going and now I am doing something I love.

Running people

In so many ways we can decide to give up, give in or get going. I hope more often than not you would get going. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If you can believe this, then you can also believe that you were not called to rely on your own understanding. If we can trust that God loves us and only wants the best for us, the things that cause us to give up and give in get smaller and less significant. Until next time:

Be an example in these things: Start with your mouth, control your tongue! Would Jesus really “just lay it out there?” Ask God to hold your tongue, be an example in word and deed. Do ALL in love

Chose Wisely

The Choice is Yours

These past few weeks have been a challenge to say the least. There have been good days and there have been days where I thought my head would explode. In previous blog posts (Get Up Again, Flow Without Stopping, Breathe) I mentioned the struggles and the good that came from them. The good was the choice though. We all have difficult situations that we have to get through, live through. When we make the conscious choice to not allow the situations to run our lives we chose then to learn from them and move forward. Even now there are numerous fires that are destroying forests, homes, lives. From the ashes of these fires people are rising up, and moving forward. They may be taking one step forward to take two steps backwards but they are pushing themselves to rise above.

A friend of mine has a home in an area that was one of the first places to be evacuated. Her home was safe but the smoke was making it extremely difficult to stay and she was unsure if the rest of the community was going to make it through the fire so she opted to leave. As she was loading up her animals and taking the belongings that she could fit, she was making phone calls. Where would she go, who had room for her. Not surprising people stepped up and made room for her to be comfortable and safe. She was given the ok to head back to her home a couple of days later, and what she found was that her community and home had been spared. Others on the other side of the highway from her were not so lucky but though they lost their homes, everyday angels had made the choice to come help and get them and their animals to safety. These stories will be popping up over the next few days and weeks as more and more people see what devastations the fires have caused. There will be those who will be lost in their own hopelessness because they have literally lost everything, and then there will be those who have lost everything but like the phoenix they will rise from the ashes and thrive.

So what then does it mean to thrive? To rise up? The more and more I thought about this, the more I realized that to thrive and rise up is something that you learn to do over time and with wisdom and experiences under your belt. If you were to ask average teenager what it meant to rise above and thrive they would probably look at you with a blank stare. The other day I was dropping off some items at a local business when I saw a gal I used to work with. She and I started talking about what she was doing now a days and what I have been doing. About 10 years ago her and I worked at a vet hospital. She had been starting out as an assistant trying to learn the ropes and I was one of the technicians trying to help her. Sadly she started out “blind” per say, she wasn’t really trained properly and when she would mess up it was quickly brought to her attention but then she was left to figure out for herself how to fix it. When I was on the same shift as her I would try and help but eventually she left the company because of feeling inadequate and because she felt like she did not have much support. When she left she moved on to another vet hospital but soon found that things were not good there. During our talk I could tell she wanted better for herself. She wanted to make a change. She just was unsure on how to go about it. I had suggested that she get her resume out and updated since there are other vets in town who were looking for hard workers willing to learn. The gal definitely did not have it easy when it came to learn the ropes in the vet field but she learned them and she gained knowledge that will help her get another position, if she chooses to get herself out of a bad situation. When I left that same vet hospital she left, I didn’t feel I had a backbone left. I was beaten down and very discouraged. Hope was found when I left the field for a couple of years only working at a hospital a couple of days a month. That is what it took to heal and grow and thrive for me, but I wouldn’t have chosen that path if it hadn’t been chosen for me. God had my best interest in mind when I was let go. From that brokenness to where I am today, I have my backbone back and I am thriving because I chose to finally let go and let God lead me. I pray that the gal will too. It may take not being in the vet field for a little bit, but maybe that is what is needed.

There are so many things in this world that can break us, and keep us from trying. To allow them to hold us down is a choice that some make. In Matthew 11:28-30 it says:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you ad learn from Me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light

We are born to live, to thrive to be all God called us to be. When we hide behind fear and disappointment we are not given God his due diligence. He is powerful enough to lift us up and help us to Get Back Up Again. When we try and do it on our own we will fail, but when we lean on Christ we will thrive. The road may still be rocky and hard but that’s when we are carried if we just chose to trust that Christ is in control. Until next time:

Thriving isn’t about making life comfortable, fun and happy; it’s about finding purpose and making our own unique contribution.”

― Malcolm Stern, Slay Your Dragons With Compassion

Fires A Blazing

Liar, liar pants on fire

Over the last few days I have been wondering if there actually have been a lot of liars out there with their pants on fire. We had this weird whether system that came through Monday that brought hot dry air, and lots of it. The wind was really sporadic throughout the night and into Tuesday. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the fires hadn’t started, and grown because of the wind. To say that the state of Oregon is on fire is an understatement, and then I look at a fire map and realize the whole west coast seems to be on fire from Colorado to Oregon/Washington and California. I’m just throwing this out there, but it seems quite odd to me to have so many fires when it’s an election year, thus going back to my “liar, liar pants on fire” remark. Ok, so before someone says something to me about this being a political post, it most definitely is not! I think I hate politics almost as much as I hate liver and onions.

These fires all around where I live has gotten me thinking about if I would be ready to leave my home in a moments notice if I was told to. It scares me to think that I am partially prepared, for instance I know for certain that besides my family, the pets would get tossed in the car, and probably a few days of clothes would be tossed in too, but other than that I don’t know much else I would take. I don’t hold a lot of sentimental value to things in particular. I am the kind of person that holds more value to doing things with the ones I love rather than collecting things. Now my kids and husband are way different. They would take the whole house if they could. As this week has progressed (remember it is only Thursday) the amount of fires that have sprouted up is nuts, and I don’t even know about half of them. About 30 miles away is a 10,000 acre fire, that has threatened homes, taken homes and is moving fast. In another direction 70 miles away 4 fires have mysteriously spouted up, causing a whole city to be on alert and parts evacuated. South in California fires have been burning for weeks. They say you don’t really stress about problems that aren’t close to you or that don’t directly affect your way of living. For instance, I will feel bad, and pray for people say in Colorado who are dealing with large amounts of snow, but I won’t really stress over it because it doesn’t affect the bubble I live in. It sounds harsh but it’s realistic. Now, these fires going on around where I live, I stress a little more about them because there are a lot of people I know who are being directly affected by them.

My wonderful husband has been planning a motorcycle trip to the coast for weeks. These fires are affecting him and the routes he can take and travel safely. I have friends who have moved their animals to safer places as they watch their homes come dangerously close to burning down. A gal I work with came to work knowing at anytime she could be told her house is gone. Then I get to hear the stories of people being saved, buildings withstanding the storm and animals being reunited with their owners. Sadly it seems to happen this way, but big disasters help you to really see what is important to you. They draw people together for the greater good. People set aside hurts and anger and their own selfishness to help others in need. People give of their resources, time and energy, they turn back to their “humanistic” ways and support others in need. I love to hear of these stories. The people that “come out of the woodwork” to help and then just as quickly meld back into the woodwork should be praised too. Part of why I write this blog is because I want to “Live Joyfully” I would much rather focus on what is good, what is noble was is just.

Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy---meditate on these things
Philippians 4:8

I admit these fires and the other “news” of this world was really starting to get to me. I could feel the weight of them on my shoulders. I see in my kids faces everyday as they “go to school” from home. I see it in my eyes as I look in the mirror and think why am I working so much? I see it in the way my husband does all he can to support me, take care of the kids and go to college to better himself while still dealing with the world around us. My neighbor the other day had asked if I had seen the news recently and I flat out told him “NO!” I do not want that in my bubble. If it is something I need to know about I will hear about it no matter what, but with how the news is now a days it is so negative without the slight bit of positivity and joy. There is always going to be bad around us, to focus then on what you can find that brings joy is of utmost importance. So here is my request from you: send me your joy, send me the happiness you have found today. Why not share and spread the good rather than focusing always on the bad. I can’t wait to hear from you! Until next time:

Living big and joyful and content is almost always the result of our finding satisfaction in life’s ordinary day-to-day pleasures. And God must be fond of them, too, for He made so many of them for us to enjoy

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

What Do I Know For Sure?

What do I know for sure?

This morning on a my walk with my Jorj dog, I wasn’t in the mood to listen to music so I decided try out the podcast my sister suggested I try. The topic today was about being overwhelmed and having a tired soul. What people failed to realize is more often than not they are one of these two. We live in a world were multitasking and getting somewhere fast is a normal thing. We know when things happen almost immediately thanks to social media. We work on our “days off” by responding back to emails or texts because it will “take only just a second” and before we know it, half the day is gone. We plan our days with how many things can we get taken care of in the shortest amount of time. When the gal in the podcast described what it meant to be overwhelmed I realized it was so spot on.

Imagine having 2-3 deadlines you have to meet, your day is planned with a bunch of activities and you realize that your stomach has been growling for quite some time now. You head to the nearest fast food place, walk in (with mask on of course) and you look up at the menu board, and this is where you stand for a few minutes. The cashier looks at you with anticipation, the people behind you look at you wondering if you are going to make a move and you can do nothing but stand there unable to make a decision. Eventually you let the people behind you go because you realize that you have no idea what you want and the ability to make a decision is lost to you. After stepping back and taking a breather you place your order and get out of there as quick as you can. I chuckle and want to cry at the same time because I have been that overwhelmed to the point that making simple decisions was beyond me. Each and every time I found myself overwhelmed and just soul tired it’s because the ability to say no and do what was good for me was not done.

So what does this have to do with what I know for sure? After my walk and listening to the podcast I was intrigued with what this gal has done for the last few years. She makes lists and writes down anything she knows for sure. She then looks back on these lists and musings and looks for patterns in her life where she had growth, where she felt like she was in a season of change or when there were times that there was no change at all. These lists and musings helped her to realize times where she was overwhelmed or even when her soul just felt heavy and tired. They also helped her see times of such great joy and happiness. I knew that once I had time today I would sit down and write my own list and see if I could keep doing it so that I could start seeing patterned in my life as well. So here is the start to my list:

  • I know I am a daughter of Christ
  • I know that no matter how much I mess up Christ has forgiven me and He loves me
  • I am sure of my husband’s love for me
  • I know that no matter how flat I am because my kids have “thrown me under the bus” so many times they can always make me flatter
  • I am sure that sitting out on my back deck in the early evening in the summer is one of the best things in the world
  • I am sure that my jabber box son does not have the ability to run out of things to say
  • I know I will always worry about my kids and what they chose to follow in this society.
  • I know for sure I DO NOT like Fortnight.
  • I know that I absolutely love my job but it is also the biggest contributor to my being overwhelmed and tired.
  • I know for sure that when we are able to stop wearing masks I will burn every single one of mine
  • I know that I find my peace and my soul finds rest when I am out in the woods preferably by a lake or river.
  • I know that when pedestals are raised too high the fall hurts more than just physically
  • I know that a person who is humble is respected more by me than someone who feels they need to flaunt what they know.
  • The smell of a recently mowed lawn is amazing, add in kids playing and laughing and my day is made.
  • Friendships that last longer than 10 years are life long friendships.
  • Loving enough to speak your mind is better than holding your tongue because “you just don’t want to deal with it”
  • Knowing you have helped a pet in need is a wonderful feeling.
  • Being a pet’s advocate and doing all you can to make them comfortable is one of the main reasons I do the job I do
  • I realize that I have such a hard time watching a show or movie where there is the slightest chance an animal will be hurt or lost.
  • And finally (at least for today’s list) Learning when to let go is both painful and liberating

I can’t say that I will be able to do a list like this daily but my goal is to try and keep my list going. I am excited to be able to glean information about myself that I didn’t know. Want to join me? I would love to see your lists, get to know you and walk alongside you as you start to recognize when you are “soul tired and overwhelmed” Leave a comment, sign up on the email list and check out my other blog posts. Until next time:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls-Jesus

Matthew 11:29

I’ll Have To Think About It

The best answer was “I’ll have to think about it”

Have you ever noticed that stress levels go up when trying to make a decision? The decision could be about whether to have ice cream after dinner or if you want to take a trip for the weekend. I know when I am in the decision making process a conversation could go like this:

Q: Do you want to ride your motorcycle into work today?

Questions I ask to make a decision: Well is it going to rain today? Is there construction on the road I will be traveling? What do I have to bring into work and do I have enough room in the saddlebags for it? Did I wake up early enough to get my stuff ready in time to leave a bit early so that I can ride my bike? How cold is it? How tired am I? I wonder if I will have to stay late tonight? Do I need gas? Is there anywhere I need to go after work?

A: Nope gonna take the care today

I think even when I am deciding if I want cheesecake or not I still have these types of thoughts go through my head when the only answer that should be said is “YES!” . I am one that likes to weigh all my options, most of the times. I am a fickle fellow in the sense that there are some decisions I make that I look back on and think “man how did I not get hurt by that decision? I got lucky I guess” and other times I take so much time deciding, that I miss out on the opportunity.

So why does this happen? When people make a choice they have to choose something over another. If they chose wrong there is disappointment and having to live with that choice. The hidden factor is fear. Fear of being left out, the fear of making the wrong choice, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of having to explain yourself….the list goes on and on.

By stepping back, getting out of the situation and yes even “sleeping on it” you can go into any situation with a clear head. About 15 years ago my husband I went out to look for a new car. It would be the first new car we both had so we were pretty excited. Where we live is Subaru country and we had heard that they were great cars overall, so off we went to our local Subaru dealership. We walked the lot, looked at the different models and promptly got spotted by the super friendly salesperson. He talked to us about the different models and the benefits of each car. We knew we would need a little bit bigger of a car since we wanted to start a family soon and we had two big dogs. We did do some research before we went to the dealership so that we would know our range of price. So when it was time to sit and talk numbers the super friendly salesperson told us our price, told us the promotions and let us think about it. When he came back into his office to “seal the deal” we told him “thank you we need to think about it” We then informed him we found the same car online for thousands less than he had offered us, and that we needed to see if we could explore that option as well. When he saw we were willing to walk out of his office without buying anything, he lowered the price to close to the price we had found and waited for our response. We said thank you, repeated that we needed to think about it and got up to leave, but we did say we will be back. He then made the comment that most people who leave without buying usually don’t come back to actually buy but that he hopes we will. Later that day, we came back and bought our very first new car for the price we agreed on. My husband and I were willing to step back, and evaluate the option we had when it came to the decision we had before us. Had we not, we would have paid thousands more than what we wanted to for the car.

Sometimes it is not as cut and dry. The decision to leave a stressful situation has more grey areas than black and white. Talking to someone about a raise or proposing to your gal, though exciting can be nerve racking at best. Choosing what is best for you and your time is what the outcomes must be. Nobody wants to live with regret. Living with the Best Yes for your life means that with anything you chose to do you chose based on what was the best for your life at the moment and beneficial for your future. Ok now before anyone reminds me that cheesecake is not that great for me in my future, I would agree within you (probably with a grudge though) but normally I eat my cheesecake with friends and because I chose to do that the cheesecake may not be that great for me, but the friendships definitely are.

The outcome of a lifetime of making good and bad choices is a life that is lived. Having the courage to step out and try something new, having the courage to say “No” when it is needed, loving when it’s hard, and saying goodbye. Making decisions can be stressful but when time is taken to step back, breathe, evaluate if it’s good for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually they can be made with a confidence that you took the time to care for yourself first so that others could be cared for later. Think on that, and I would love to hear your comments. Until next time:

Don’t entrust your future on others’ hands. Rather make decisions by yourself with the help of God’s guidance. Hold your beliefs so tight and never let go of them!”

― Hark Herald Sarmiento

Flow Without Stopping

“We’re like the blood in our veins. We must flow without stopping”—-Kuroo Tetsuro

When our heart pumps blood to the rest of our body it must do it with the right amount of force to send it to the farthest reaches of our bodies, our pinky toe. Blood is the river that flows through us, it carries oxygen, nutrients, waste, and even protects our bodies from infection. It is in constant motion and must stay in that state for us to continue living. We go throughout our days not even thinking about it until we have to because of a cut on our hand, or when we don’t feel good and a doctor gets a blood sample from us to figure out why. We are programed not to have to tell ourselves to keep that blood flowing and with the right amount of stuff to keep us alive. God took his time with this and knew that we would have enough to deal with, so He made it his job to keep us alive.

Blood in itself gives us a plethora of information. It can tell us if our heart is working well, if we have kidney issues, liver issues, pancreatic issues…etc. It can let us know if there is infection in us or if we are dehydrated, and this is only touching the surface. Every time surgery has to happen bloodwork is required so that the doctors know how healthy a person/animal is before the procedure. Blood is so very vital.

We must see that like blood we are vital as human beings, when we flow and help each other without complications. There is not a single cell within the blood stream that puffs out it’s chest and says look at me, I am way more important that any other cell here. Each cell, each particle that flows in the blood stream has it’s own unique job to do. When the job is done it helps keep us alive.

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Over the years I have met so extremely humble people and on the flip side some people that are so arrogant they feel the world begins and ends with them. When I was in the process of getting my vet tech license I had a group of gals that were mentors, teachers, friends. They worked hard alongside me to help me succeed. This meant testing me, talking with me, and encouraging me when I thought I couldn’t do it. They were also the same people that pulled me aside right before I took the test and said: “We know you can do this, and we know you will pass, but if you allow yourself to think you are better than anyone else because of this license, consider your butt kicked!” I passed my test a few days after that conversation and I can tell you I need Facebook reminders to remind me when I passed my test but I don’t need any help remembering the conversation they had with me. I check in with them on occasion to make sure I haven’t gotten a big head. Flip side to this, when working at a hospital a few years ago, the head doctor was looking to hire on a licensed vet tech. She had done the initial interview and had asked this person to do a working interview to meet the current staff and to show her abilities is different areas of the hospital. From the get go there was just something about this gal that raised red flags. She was willing to suggest lying to company reps to get more products and she just stepped into situations and offered advice which in itself isn’t bad but the tone in which she offered it quickly ruffled feathers. The staff was asked their opinions afterwards about the gal and most voiced concerns but the doctor ultimately decided to hire her due to experience. At first things flowed smoothly but then over time, little things started popping up and they turned into big things which by that time made it so there was nothing smooth about working at all. If we were talking about blood, there would be blood clots and blockages everywhere. The flow would stop, which sadly for this particular job it did just that and people had to move on to other places.

The Bible talks about us all being one body. We all have a job to do in order for life to run smoothly. When we do our job well but look at what someone else is doing and envy them, what we do falters. 1 Corinthians 12:14-19 says: For in fact the body is not one member but many, if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, i am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

Open bible and a river

We all have our own gifts and talents to contribute into this journey we call life. If we all did the same thing, for one life would be boring, but also there would be no flow. There would be so many undone things. We need people’s talents and gifts but we also need more humble and peaceful people. Don’t hear me wrong there, I didn’t say more doormats, I said humble and peaceful. Wisdome comes from living life, and having experiences whether good or bad. With wisdom comes being humble, being humble means knowing you are capable without having to tell the whole world you are. To flow like blood flows through the body, one must be ablet to get past hurts that may come, stumbling stones that get put in their paths, and worries that asult them. To flow means to trust in the One that pushed you in the direction you are going just as blood is pushed in the direction it goes by the heart and vessels within the body. Can you flow without stopping? Until next time:

Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we

make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last blockon a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.”

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

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